Sneaky MPs vote to keep addresses secret

Just as the debate on the Political Parties and Elections Bill was about to end at 9pm last night, Julian Lewis MP stood up and sneakily inserted a clause to exempt MPs’ home addresses from being included in the electoral registers.

Yet again – one rule for us, another for our ever-more-self-important MPs.

Read more in today’s Daily Telegraph.

The High Court ruled in my case for the publication of MPs expenses that MPs’ home addresses should be published to ensure the second homes allowances were being spent properly and not abused. There were cases of MPs claiming the allowance for homes they were renting out privately, homes they were using for holidays and even homes that did not exist.

The ruling was entirely sensible and allowed MPs with a valid security threat to be exempted from disclosure. What it didn’t allow for was self-important, paranoid, conspiracy-obsessed MPs to keep secrets from their own constituents based on fevered imaginings. What shocking distrust and disrespect our leaders have for us! Meanwhile they demand from us complete transparency.

If you’ve any doubts about the Walter Mitty nature of Julian Lewis and his cronies who voted for this bill, might I point you toward someone who is possibly a wee bit more important but who, nonetheless, has no problems understanding that in a democracy a leader must be directly answerable to the people.

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5 Responses to “Sneaky MPs vote to keep addresses secret”

  1. Phil says:

    For those who are willing actually to examine Julian Lewis’s arguments, the security case he makes about keeping MPs’ home addresses private can be found at:

    http://www.julianlewis.net/speech_detail.php?id=142

    and the background to the NOTW story about him can be found at:

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2009/03/julian-lewis-mp.html

  2. heather says:

    Phil,
    The point is that in cases where real harm can be substantiated (and not just in an MPs’ imagination) the High Court ruling already allows this protection. What Julian Lewis proposes is changing the default position from openness to secrecy and no harm test need be conducted. That is an important difference.

  3. John L Bell says:

    You know, I know, the whole country is beginning to know, that this is not about safety
    or security. It is about covering up the extensive levels of fraud carried out by MPs and
    their relatives in a vague attempt to stay this side of prison bars.

    It is not going to work.

    Has anyone checked that the taxpayers’ money claimed have been spent appropriately?….. No!
    Has anyone checked that it has been spent where (in the geographical sense)
    it has been claimed to have been spent?……………………………………………No!

    I have asked who authorised payment of the Jacqui Smith’s claims. When I know, you will
    know.

    The Seven Principles of Public Life:

    SELFLESSNESS
    Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
    They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves,
    their family, or their friends.

    INTEGRITY
    Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other
    obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence
    them in the performance of their official duties.

    OBJECTIVITY
    In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding
    contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public
    office should make choices on merit.

    ACCOUNTABILITY
    Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to
    the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

    OPENNESS
    Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and
    actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict
    information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

    HONESTY
    Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating
    to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that
    protects the public interest.

    LEADERSHIP
    Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership
    and example.

    These principles apply to all aspects of public life. The Committee has set them out
    here for the benefit of all who serve the public in any way.

    How many of the cases we have heard about recently hit these principles.

    The MPs we have today seem to have one guiding principle;

    ‘Let citizens burn while MPs fiddle!’

  4. John L Bell says:

    Phil,
    I have studied the links you gave and have thought carefully about this MP’s claims. I’m sorry but;
    It still looks crooked!
    It sounds crooked!
    It smells crooked!

    I still believe that this person plus the others voting to put all this data under wraps are probably
    crooks and the Fraud Act 2006 should be deployed following a totally independent investigation by an independent
    police force. No past or present politician or anyone employed by parliament should be allowed near except as a
    witness.

    Or are we suggesting that the juries in future criminal trials should only contain known felons?

    As a tax paying citizen, I will still be expecting to hear the slamming of cell doors

  5. John L Bell says:

    Please note from the Official Explanotory Notes accompanying the Fraud Act 2006

    Please check out the following Official Explanatory Notes relating to Section 2 of the Fraud ACt 2006

    Section 2: Fraud by false representation

    10. Section 2 makes it an offence to commit fraud by false representation. Subsection (1)(a) makes clear that the representation must be made dishonestly. This test applies also to sections 3 and 4. The current definition of dishonesty was established in R v Ghosh [1982] Q.B.1053. That judgment sets a two-stage test. The first question is whether a defendant’s behaviour would be regarded as dishonest by the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people. If answered positively, the second question is whether the defendant was aware that his conduct was dishonest and would be regarded as dishonest by reasonable and honest people.

    Please explain which part of this Act does NOT apply to those MPs who have made the sort of false claims exposed recently in the press!

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