Friday, May 16, 2008

Victory for open government

The Commons Speaker, Michael Martin, today lost a high court battle to prevent the disclosure of the details of second-home expenses claimed by 14 prominent MPs.

Today's ruling, given by Sir Igor Judge, the president of the Queen's bench division, Lord Justice Latham and Mr Justice Blake, will increase pressure on Martin, who has been criticised for his decision to block the publication of the information.

The Commons authorities challenged the Information Tribunal's demand that a detailed breakdown of MPs' additional costs allowances (ACAs) had to be provided under the Freedom of Information Act.

This is a victory for open government. MPs should not have a choice in the matter. Their expenses are paid for by us so we have a right to know. If they want to pay for things without taxpayers’ money they can do so privately.

This was tried in Scotland a few years ago and expenses were reduced decreased. The MPs don’t want it to happen here because it will mean less money for them.

No comments: