PM U-turn on #MPexpenses

Surprising turn of events reported in the Guardian:

Gordon Brown today retreated from plans to exempt MPs’ expenses from the Freedom of Information Act.

The surprise announcement made during prime ministers questions follows the collapse overnight of a bipartisan agreement between Brown and David Cameron, the Tory leader, to back a parliamentary order exempting MPs’ expenses from the act. The move came after he was challenged by a Tory backbencher over why he was in favour of keeping them secret.

It means that plans to issue 1.2m receipts for MPs’ expenses over the past three years are likely to go ahead within weeks.

The decision is a major victory for freedom of information campaigners and follows growing opposition led by the Liberal Democrats to the proposal, and website campaigns urging the public to email their MP objecting to the move.

Whilst we of course welcome the outcome – no special measures for MPs – we can’t help but be puzzled by the background hinted at in the report.  Bipartisan agreement?  Have the Tories reneged in the face of public opinion?  Was our own leadership consulted?  Who knew what and when?  Is it time to rename the hashtag from #MPexpenses to #Expensesgate ?

Our extensive coverage of this issue is all available under the #MPexpenses tag – click the link below for more information.

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  • Alix Mortimer 21st Jan '09 - 1:24pm

    Oh bother! We’ve cross-posted. I’ll take mine off (huh, mine had a free cup of tea for every reader).

  • From the Beeb:

    Earlier, Mr Brown blamed the Conservatives for what he said was a breakdown of a consensus over the way forward. “We thought we had agreement on the FOI Act as part of this wider package,” he told MPs. “Recently that support that we believed we had from the main opposition party was withdrawn. So on this particular matter, I believe all-party support is important and we will continue to consult on that matter.”

    As if “Tories collude” = “all-party support”.

  • What time is the remaining vote tomorrow?

  • Alix Mortimer 21st Jan '09 - 3:30pm

    It’s the morning (10.30) session, and FOI is the fourth item of six. Why, do you smell a rat?

  • No rat, just wanted to know! Cheers. 😉

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