URGENT: Fight for your right to see how MPs spend your money

January 20, 2009 6:43 PM

Despite all the flak they took over secret MPs' expenses, the ruling of the Information Commission that went against them, the High Court ruling that crushed their weak arguments and the fact that the Commons authorities have spent months and hundreds of thousands of pounds preparing expenses details for publication, the Government have done the unthinkable and launched a last ditch, desperate attempt to keep Parliamentary expenses secret after all.


This is outrageous - they are our MPs, it is our Parliament and it is our money, and we have a right to know the full details of what happens. Consider it this way:



  • One of the best things this Government has done was to introduce the Freedom of Information Act and establish the principal that the public have a right to know how their money is spent. They are now seeking to exempt themselves, and only themselves, from this very same law.

  • In introducing the wasteful and invasive Identity Cards the Government have harped on incessantly that "if the public have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear." Why doesn't that apply to MPs going about their public duty?


The fact is that this does nothing but harm the reputation of Parliament. When even the Commons authorities have accepted the public's right to know, the public are justified in thinking that this desperate attempt to keep the information secret is simply because some Ministers have claimed such absurd and embarassing things that they would stand to lose their jobs if the truth was revealed.


We need to press hard to fight this proposal. There are a number of things you can do:



  • Please email or call your MP (find details here) before the vote on Thursday to urge them to oppose this totally unreasonable move.
  • Encourage your MP to sign this Early Day Motion.
  • Write to the national or local papers about it. The TPA is the signatory of a group letter in today's Guardian, and the more letters there are about, the greater the pressure will be.
  • Join the Facebook campaign against expenses secrecy.


Do let us know what response you get from your MP - we will be running a list of saints and sinners, to keep track of which MPs have come out to oppose or support the measure (below).


MPs Supporting Transparency


Baker, Norman
Bottomley, Peter 
Field, Frank 
Fisher, Mark 
Harris, Evan 
Hoey, Kate
Jones, Lynne
Russell, Bob 
Swinson, Jo 
Shepherd, Richard 
Sanders, Adrian 
Webb, Steve
Winnick, David  
Wyatt, Derek


Maybes


Bradshaw, Ben
Younger-Ross, Richard
  


MPs who want to keep their expenses secret

Harman, Harriet 

Despite all the flak they took over secret MPs' expenses, the ruling of the Information Commission that went against them, the High Court ruling that crushed their weak arguments and the fact that the Commons authorities have spent months and hundreds of thousands of pounds preparing expenses details for publication, the Government have done the unthinkable and launched a last ditch, desperate attempt to keep Parliamentary expenses secret after all.


This is outrageous - they are our MPs, it is our Parliament and it is our money, and we have a right to know the full details of what happens. Consider it this way:



  • One of the best things this Government has done was to introduce the Freedom of Information Act and establish the principal that the public have a right to know how their money is spent. They are now seeking to exempt themselves, and only themselves, from this very same law.

  • In introducing the wasteful and invasive Identity Cards the Government have harped on incessantly that "if the public have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear." Why doesn't that apply to MPs going about their public duty?


The fact is that this does nothing but harm the reputation of Parliament. When even the Commons authorities have accepted the public's right to know, the public are justified in thinking that this desperate attempt to keep the information secret is simply because some Ministers have claimed such absurd and embarassing things that they would stand to lose their jobs if the truth was revealed.


We need to press hard to fight this proposal. There are a number of things you can do:



  • Please email or call your MP (find details here) before the vote on Thursday to urge them to oppose this totally unreasonable move.
  • Encourage your MP to sign this Early Day Motion.
  • Write to the national or local papers about it. The TPA is the signatory of a group letter in today's Guardian, and the more letters there are about, the greater the pressure will be.
  • Join the Facebook campaign against expenses secrecy.


Do let us know what response you get from your MP - we will be running a list of saints and sinners, to keep track of which MPs have come out to oppose or support the measure (below).


MPs Supporting Transparency


Baker, Norman
Bottomley, Peter 
Field, Frank 
Fisher, Mark 
Harris, Evan 
Hoey, Kate
Jones, Lynne
Russell, Bob 
Swinson, Jo 
Shepherd, Richard 
Sanders, Adrian 
Webb, Steve
Winnick, David  
Wyatt, Derek


Maybes


Bradshaw, Ben
Younger-Ross, Richard
  


MPs who want to keep their expenses secret

Harman, Harriet 

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