Leader of the Commons, Harriet Harman, has tabled proposals that will give MPs an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act. The aim is to circumvent rulings by the High Court and Information Tribunal demanding the receipt-by-receipt breakdowns of how public money is spent.
The motivation behind this is straight forward. MPs are covering their own backs. Harriet Harman is not alone; there is little appetite among MPs to let their constituents know how they spend their taxes.
Liberal Democrat MP, Norman Baker, has decided to speak out against Harman, stating: “After the fiasco of MPs’ expenses there is a great deal of work to be done rebuilding confidence in the Commons. This simply undermines it again." He must have seen the light, for his reputation on this front is far from squeaky clean.
Jon Craig, on the Sky News website, rightly compares this move to the actions of Silvio Berlusconi. MPs would be the only public servants exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. This is Public Choice Theory in practice, and not even the High Court can hold them to account.