MPs and expenses: return to an unwelcome past

Oh dear:

MPs are trying to block publication of material which could show they are renting their taxpayer-funded homes to each other, it is claimed.

Expenses watchdog The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is considering an Freedom of Information request to release the details.

But Commons Speaker John Bercow said publication would be a “security risk”.

One Labour MP said it risked a “return to the bad old days” of secrecy.

Saying that home addresses of MPs must be kept secret for security reasons was of course one of the reasons given previously for keeping secret the sort of expenses details which when they were published revealed all sorts of questionable behaviour and worse by Members of Parliament.

Security and safety for MPs is important – and after the last fuss there was a change in the law to let MPs and candidates keep their home addresses secret on public election paperwork. It’s been a pretty low profile legal change since, however, which suggests that the desire for secrecy for legitimate safety reasons does not extend very far.

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