Liberal Democrats deplore the Government’s attempt to give MPs special privileges that will allow them to keep the expenses claims secret.
Last year the High Court ruled that the money claimed by MPs to reimburse their expenses should be made public. This week the Gordon Brown will instruct Labour MPs to pass a special bill overruling the High Court and allowing MPs exemption from the Freedom of Information act with regard to their expenses claims.
“Our MPs are public servants,” said Liberal Democrat campaigner Dr Charles West. “They are perfectly entitled to claim for reasonable expenses, and if their claims are reasonable there is no reason why they should be ashamed of claiming. We believe that MPs should be open about any claims they make. Liberal Democrats have campaigned for years on openness in MPs expenses and Liberal Democrat MPs will be voting against the government this week. Where the Conservative stand on this issue is a little unclear. Caroline Spelman remains a member of the shadow cabinet despite being under investigation for apparently employing a nanny who may have done some secretarial duties. But the most flagrant abuse of the expenses system must be that of the former Conservative member for Shrewsbury, Derek Conway, who would seem to have employed his sons with public money while there was very little evidence that they did work to support his role as an MP. We believe that the Conservatives will be given a free vote this week, but I very much hope that Shrewsbury’s current Conservative MP will support the Liberal Democrats in their stand for openness, honesty and freedom of information.”