Victory on opening up MPs expenses – but no thanks to Emily Thornberry

A mass campaign organised by the Liberal Democrats and Islington-based pressure group Unlock Democracy has forced Gordon Brown to back down on controversial plans to exempt MPs expenses from the Freedom of Information Act.

But not before local Labour MP Emily Thornberry has been exposed as being on the side of secrecy.

MPs from all parties backed Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson’s Early Day Motion opposing the secrecy plan – but Emily Thornberry refused to sign up.

Sad to say, our local MP has a long record of voting against a transparent Parliament. Last year, she voted against external audits of MPs’ expenses, voted against making MPs provide receipts for expenses like all other taxpayers, and voted against bringing the transparency of Parliamentary expenses into line with other public bodies. These proposals were backed by the Lib Dems, but defeated by Labour in Parliament.

Just last week, Ms Thornberry told the BBC she didn’t know “what the fuss was about” over MP expenses, and rejected suggestions that they should be accountable for “every single item on our receipts”. In contrast, local councillors have to make all their expenses claims available for public scrutiny.

The Lib Dems opposed the ‘secret expenses’ plan from the beginning, and public outrage has now forced Gordon Brown’s Government into a humiliating climbdown.

Why didn’t Emily Thornberry join Lib Dem MPs, some Tories, and even her colleague Jeremy Corbyn, in backing the motion against the secrecy plan?

At a time when many Islington residents are having to fill in detailed tax returns or benefits claims, it is arrogant of Ms Thornberry to claim that MPs like her are too important to do the same. Politicians should live by the same rules as everyone else. It is outrageous that the Labour Government and Ms Thornberry, whose salaries we all pay, tried to hide their expenses claims– what have they got to hide?

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1 Comment »

  1. Caroline Calzon said

    After the latest saga or should I say the dishonesty of The home Secretary Jacqui smith, I have lost faith in politicians and their seeking office in parliament pretending to want to better our life. It seems MPs are in it to feather their own nest rather than improve our daily life. Perhaps Ms Thornbury could enlighten us and reveal whether it’s tax payers money which is helping her finance her second home bought from the housing association at a bargain price?

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