Call for release of Westminster expenses data

Call for release of Westminster expenses data

By staff writers
4 Nov 2012

Thousands of concerned citizens have signed an open letter to Speaker of the House of Commons, demanding the release of expenses data.

Unlock Democracy’s director Peter Facey and deputy director Alexandra Runswick have delivered the letter, signed by 8,147 people, to parliament.

The letter expressed concerns about John Bercow's attempts to stop the release of a list of names of MPs’ landlords, and how this may lead to a repeat of the 2009 expenses scandal.

Unlock Democracy says that it is important that people know from whom MPs are renting, as there are concerns they are letting out their taxpayer-subsidised homes, and then renting a different property on expenses.

The political reform group is also writing to Ipsa, the body overseeing MPs’ expenses, to urge them to release the data.

Commenting on the response to the open letter, Unlock Democracy director Peter Facey said: “We are delighted by the amazing response we got to the letter, with over 8000 signatures in just five days. It indicates a clear desire from the public that Parliament is open with citizens, and does not lapse back into the bad old days."

“As well as informing Bercow of the public hunger for a transparent parliament, we will also be writing to Ipsa asking them to ensure they keep up the good work in monitoring MPs’ expenditure," he added.

“This scandal shows us that we need to go back to the drawing board on accommodation for MPs. In the past they benefited from taxpayers’ money. Presently, it is private landlords pocketing taxpayers’ money, and the public are still the losers. What we need to see is parliament owning property in London which MPs can rent, with any profits raised from this being returned to the public purse. This system has been shown to work in accommodation for service people,” said Mr Facey.

Unlock Democracy (www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk) is a leading campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms. It incorporates Charter 88 and the New Politics Network.

[Ekk/3]

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