Political

What happened to the 19 Conservative MPs who voted to keep MPs’ expenses secret?

I’ve commented on the fate of the 21 Conservative MPs who voted against reform of Parliamentary expenses (in brief: nearly all of them have since had to pay back money or had an expenses scandal come to light).

That was one of two key votes where Parliament had had the chance to clean up its act before media stories and public outcry forced it to do so. The other was about whether or not MPs’ expenses should be susceptible to Freedom of Information requests. There was an attempt to change the law to keep them secret, via a Bill introduced by former Conservative whip David Maclean. As with the other vote, the bulk of the blame for the outcome rests with Labour MPs, but given David Cameron’s very strident and personal rhetoric, it’s worth taking a look at quite what his own party’s record is beyond just David Maclean’s role.

This time there were 19 Conservative MPs who supported keeping their expense claims secret (18 who voted plus 1 teller).

And what’s been the fate of those 19?

Not done some of their careers any harm as 7 out of 19 are now Conservative frontbenchers, including four whips:

  • Peter Atkinson (Conservative Whip)
  • Simon Burns (Conservative Whip)
  • James Duddridge (Conservative Whip)
  • Julian Lewis (Shadow Defence Minister)
  • Bob Neill (Shadow Local Government Minister)
  • John Randall (Conservative Assistant Chief Whip)
  • David Ruffley (Shadow Home Affairs Minister)

By the way, praise should be given where it’s due and whilst I’m not normally a fan of John Redwood, he along with James Clappison, Philip Hollobone, John Maples and Richard Shepherd, should be congratulated for having joined Liberal Democrat MPs and a handful of Labour rebels in voting to have freedom of information rules apply to MPs’ expenses in that vote.

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