This report in the Sunday Telegraph is extremely interesting in that it would appear, once again, the whole truth about 'Expensegate' is yet to be told.
The article relates how Jack Straw, then Leader of the House of Commons, "led an all-party delegation of senior MPs which urged Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, to turn down requests by journalists and campaigners to release details of MPs' second home expenses" and "The minutes of the pre-meeting, obtained by this newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act, state that all four MPs present.......were "adamant" that information about second home claims "should remain private".
The claim in the Telegraph article that Jack Straw 'lobbied' against disclosure is not the first time that he appears to have tried 'interfering' with the disclosure of MPs expenses as this report shows and this report. The apparent hypocrisy of Jack Straw's position is that, in this article from the Daily Telegraph on 22nd June 2009, it quotes from an interview with Andrew Marr which contained these words "Well it gave a terrible impression. And the irony is…that had the Commons done the sensible thing and ensured that this kind of material came out two years ago - as it could and should have done......" With the contradictions - the minutes, the Daily Mail article, the Metro article and then the Marr interview - Jack Straw stands guilty of misleading the public and should promptly do the honourable thing and resign.
Theresa May does not escape criticism either as, being one of the four MPs who were "adamant that information about second home claims "should remain private", she states in her Annual Report (click on link to access) that "The public are rightly angry. We urgently need reform so people can know that only money that is necessary for MPs to do their jobs will be spent. We need change, and we need full transparency in the system. " which somehow does not seem to 'gel' with her wish to keep details of second homes secret. She too should follow the suggested course of action as Jack Straw.
This demonstrates that if MPs wish to assure us about their commitment to 'transparency, whilst retaining their title of 'Honourable' then it does not increase their standing in the public's eyes when they say one thing in public, yet are shown to have done the exact opposite behind the scenes. If MPs truly wished and believed in 'transparency', the press and bloggers would not need to resort to prising the information out of them via Freedom of Information requests - they would make all documents relating to all committee hearings, enquiries etc available to public scrutiny themselves -and do it now!
"Oh what a tangled we we weave, when first we practice to deceive!