MPs’ expenses and personal risk

Jeremy Phillips

The Times Online is one of many sources that broke the news this morning that an investigation has been launched after it was discovered that a mole is selling the expenses records of all Members of Parliament for £300,000. This follows the leakage of embarrassing details of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s expenses claim, which included pornographic films watched by her husband.

MPs are to be given the chance to edit receipts submitted to justify their expense claims before they are made public. Details that identify individual suppliers, as well as any items on bills not paid for by the taxpayer, can be blacked out by MPs during the next month, according to House of Commons officials. Says the report:

“MPs opposed to full publication of the receipts say that the information could be used to identify their homes and could put themselves and their families at risk. They will be invited to check receipts submitted for the past five years within days and edit out identifying details. Some plan to use the process to delay release well beyond the planned publication date this summer”.

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