Political reform group Unlock Democracy has launched a new campaign to force the publication of expenses receipts submitted by MPs.
Last week the new independent body charged with overseeing parliamentary expenses, announced it will not publish the receipts submitted by Members of Parliament at Westminster when it releases details of their claims in December 2010.
IPSA (the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) claims it will cost one million pounds to highlight and scan receipts and is not in the best interests of the taxpayer. Instead it is planned that MPs' claims will be published on IPSA's website under general categories - such as 'travel' - with a description of each claim.
Unlock Democracy is asking all its members to write to the chair of IPSA, Sir Ian Kennedy, asking him to reverse his decision.
Commenting on the campaign, Peter Facey director of Unlock Democracy, declared: “Just when we thought the establishment got it about MP’s expenses - it’s happening all over again."
He continued: “Publishing expenses and receipts was the reason IPSA was created in the first place, at great cost to the taxpayer. By ignoring the recommendations of Sir Christopher Kelly, they have effectively brought us back to square one and undermines its main claim that “in all it does, IPSA will keep at the front of its mind its main duty – to serve the interests of the public.”
“Non-publication was what the Government was proposing back in 2009. That is why we then asked all our members to contact their MPs and force a u-turn. Today we are asking them and all people who care about transparency to write to Sir Ian Kennedy, Chair of IPSA, urging him to change his mind," said Facey.
“We were successful once and we can be again. The High Court has declared that people have a right to know what MPs are claiming for. Transparency is the only solution to the veil of secrecy which has shrouded the system for far too long,” he concluded.
Unlock Democracy (http://www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/ ) is a leading UK campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms. It was formed in 2007 and is the successor organisation to Charter 88 and the New Politics Network, also incorporating the Power 2010 initiative.