What happened to the 19 Conservative MPs who voted to keep MPs’ expenses secret?

I’ve commented on the fate of the 21 Conservative MPs who voted against reform of Parliamentary expenses (in brief: nearly all of them have since had to pay back money or had an expenses scandal come to light).

That was one of two key votes where Parliament had had the chance to clean up its act before media stories and public outcry forced it to do so. The other was about whether or not MPs’ expenses should be susceptible to Freedom of Information requests. There was an attempt to change the law to keep them secret, via a Bill introduced by former Conservative whip David Maclean. As with the other vote, the bulk of the blame for the outcome rests with Labour MPs, but given David Cameron’s very strident and personal rhetoric, it’s worth taking a look at quite what his own party’s record is beyond just David Maclean’s role.

This time there were 19 Conservative MPs who supported keeping their expense claims secret (18 who voted plus 1 teller).

And what’s been the fate of those 19?

Not done some of their careers any harm as 7 out of 19 are now Conservative frontbenchers, including four whips:

  • Peter Atkinson (Conservative Whip)
  • Simon Burns (Conservative Whip)
  • James Duddridge (Conservative Whip)
  • Julian Lewis (Shadow Defence Minister)
  • Bob Neill (Shadow Local Government Minister)
  • John Randall (Conservative Assistant Chief Whip)
  • David Ruffley (Shadow Home Affairs Minister)

By the way, praise should be given where it’s due and whilst I’m not normally a fan of John Redwood, he along with James Clappison, Philip Hollobone, John Maples and Richard Shepherd, should be congratulated for having joined Liberal Democrat MPs and a handful of Labour rebels in voting to have freedom of information rules apply to MPs’ expenses in that vote.

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  • Grammar Police 9th Feb '10 - 9:56am

    There are also those MPs who attended some of the debate on the Private Members’ bill, but then who didn’t vote on the substantive issue. For example, Conservative MP Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon) voted on procedural motions in a way that made the bill more likely to pass, but then was absent when they voted on the Bill itself – see: http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=Stephen_Hammond&mpc=Wimbledon&house=commons&dmp=996&display=motions

  • Grammar Police 9th Feb '10 - 9:59am

    And see also here with explanation from the Public Whip: http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2007-05-18&number=122&number2=123

    Lots of Conservative Front Benchers and Labour Ministers voted in this way.

  • Thank goodness the Lib Dems are whiter than white (sorry, can I say that?) where expenses are concerned.

    I am sooooo happy that there are no issues at all surrounding the Lib Dems & public money re-directed to the pockets of the great & the good in the yellow rosettes.

  • John Randall had the lowest expense claim of all London MPs.


    He also voted strongly against the Iraq war, anti-terrorism laws, ID cards and for the hunting ban.

  • Hi Mark – remind me of what happened to that few million quid donated to the Lib Dems by a man who was subsequently found to have stolen it from investors? Have you given it back yet ? Thought not – perhaps it’s best not to throw stones!

  • Grammar Police 10th Feb '10 - 11:33am

    @ Zachary/Mike

    So, let me get this right. The fact that a smaller proportion of Lib Dem MPs had to re-pay a much smaller amount of money wrongly claimed in expenses, than either Lab or Con (not that I would want to justifiy it) – and the fact that some money was legally donated to the Lib Dems, by someone who turns out after months and months of investigations by the police, to have done some other stuff wrong – should prevent the Lib Dems from rightly criticising Labour and Conservative MPs who either openly sought, or tacitly acted, to prevent MPs’ expenses being subject to freedom of information legislation?

    Is there actually any logic in that? Are you actually saying you think that freedom of information legislation should have been changed so all the dirty secrets about MPs’ expenses should not have come out? I know which party I’m proud to be a member of.

    It’s not surprising that politics is so messed up with such self-justifying nonsense falling out of the mouths of Labour and Conservative supporters.

    As Lance Corporal Jones might say: “They don’t like it up ’em!”

    (Remember, Grammar P, remember – *don’t feed the trolls*)

  • mike isaacs 10th Feb '10 - 9:18pm

    Grammar Police

    I find it shameless that you should defend the Lib Dems having received money from a convicted crook and even more so when it is clear that the money he gave was stolen from honest people. What’s self-justifying about saying you should give it back – bet you wouldn’t disagree if your life savings (or that of your parents) had been stolen.
    Maybe you need to have another look at “your moral dimension”. Frankly if your argument is the best you can do LC Jones would be ashamed of you.

  • mike isaacs 13th Feb '10 - 4:20pm

    Huw – would that be your attitude if the money (quite a few million) had been donated to Labour or the Conservatives? More importantly would it be your attitude if the some of the money donated had been stolen from you or your parents? In the example you quote, do you think Oxfam would keep money donated to it in the certain knowledge that it had been stolen – I very much doubt it – phone and ask them!.

    Nothing wrong with my ethical standards but you may wish to to take a further look at that book on ethical philosophy – read it carefully this time.

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