My Tribunal hearing on MPs’ expenses this Thursday

My four-year-battle for transparency of MPs’ expenses will culminate on Thursday (February 7th) with a two-day hearing before the Information Tribunal for a full breakdown by receipts and claims of MPs’ Additional Costs Allowance. The hearing will see Andrew Walker, Director General of Resources for the House of Commons cross examined for his running of the Fees Office which effectively allows Members to ‘self-certify’ the majority of their claims.

Ever since 2004, I’ve battled to get MPs to fully account to the public for how they spend their expenses; making a series of Freedom of Information Act requests seeking a detailed breakdown of the names and salaries of MPs’ staff, their travel, and Additional Costs Allowance.

It has always been my contention that it is not only in the public interest but the Parliamentary interest to release information through the legitimate mechanism of the Freedom of Information Act. In this manner, information is shared democratically with everyone. It is to the constituents that MPs should be held accountable and so it so to them that details of expense claims must be disclosed.

The current annual breakdown by categories is useless in terms of holding MPs to account. None of the current abuses of MPs’ expenses can be seen in such bulk figures. It isn’t right that the only way the public can uncover the detail necessary to ensure against corruption is through leaks, gossip and rumour. I am fighting for MPs to publish a full breakdown of their expenses by claim and receipt.

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday February 7th and Friday 8th beginning at 10.30am. It will be held at the Finance and Tax Tribunal building, 45 Bedford Square. I’m fortunate to be represented by the wonderful Hugh Tomlinson QC at the hearing along with Simons Muirhead & Burton, solicitors. Wish me luck!

8 Responses to “My Tribunal hearing on MPs’ expenses this Thursday”

  1. The Wonderful Jones says:

    Go get ’em!

  2. Carl Watkin says:

    I wish you all the luck in the universe Heather in your quest to de-snout the overflowing troughs at Westminster.
    My own local MP’s expenses seem to be extortionate and he is perhaps in the middle ranks of troughsville!!
    I don’t have a problem with their expenses if they are fair and reasonable for the duties carried out, yet I can’t help believing, as most of the country do, that corruption is rife in the corridors of power.
    If there is nothing to hide, then why try to hide it???
    Politicians should exude integrity and honesty, I’m sure some do, but guess the majority don’t.
    It has become an acceptable “perk” of the job, from top to bottom, from Westminster to local council offices, while hundreds of thousands of pensioners and disabled people struggle for even the basic necessities of life, like eating and heating!
    I like a lot more will never vote again for any of the 3 main parties until they show us they can be trusted with OUR money.

  3. Mike Law says:

    More power to you Heather!

    Good luck for tomorrow!!

  4. Rahul Sharma says:

    Wishing you the best of luck. Perhaps now the IT will be more willing to rule in your favour and parliament understanding why it is right to release information on tax payers money.

  5. Ben says:

    I’ve only just seen this, but will send a belated good luck – I hope you were successful.

  6. john lynch says:

    I HOPE YOU WIN, IT IS HIGH TIME THAT MP’S STEPPED DOWN, (OR ARE KNOCKED OFF) THEIR LOFTY PEDESTALS FOR THE SAKE FOR DEMOCRACY.

  7. john nevile says:

    I READ THE COVERING STORY IN TODAY’S TIMES.FRIDAY 9TH FEBRUARY2008.
    THE ARROGANCE AND GREED OF M.P.’S IS ABSOLUTELY STAGGERING. THE TIMES ARTICLE WAS A COMPLETE REVELATION! I WISH YOU WELL IN YOUR PURSUIT OF HONESTY AND INTEGRITY.

  8. Mike kerley says:

    I would wish you well for your efforts are to be commended,but i do not think that you will get anyware as the persons involved will call out the old boy network and squash the whole thing!

    All MPs think that they can do no wrong and that they can get away with anything they like,so I wish you well in your endevours but alas I think that you will come out at the end of the day with nothing.

    I have sent a complaint to the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in regards to the lack of action taken against
    Mr Conway MP even when he has put up his hands to the crime of theft of public money,he has not been interviewed
    or arrested for any crime.

    We will see if the Police take this as seriously as we do!

    I believe as most people do, that each MP has a responsibility to his voters,to be as honest as he/she sould be and not try to screw as much money out of us as possible before he/she gets booted out of office.

    Power to the people.

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