MPs' expenses - Heather Brooke

"In his article on MPs' expenses, Julian Glover appears to accept the false equation put about by MPs, that asking our top elected officials to be transparent and directly accountable to the people is somehow an insult to their good character", writes Heather Brooke.

"It is wrong to claim that the public had no interest before the FOI Act. Until 2003, no information was published; but ignorance is not the same as satisfaction, and if this country is to claim it is a democracy with an informed electorate, then that electorate needs information. MPs, the House of Commons Commission and the Speaker Michael Martin, though, have used public money to fight every attempt to get this information to the public.

None of the recent expense scandals are fiction. MPs' outrage would be better directed at themselves and the lax system that secrecy has created - a system which favours the self-serving and corrupt politician while leaving the upright, hard-working one unrecognised.

If, as Glover writes, "MPs do not recognise the fat-cat lifestyles being blasted across the pages of newspapers such as the Daily Mail", then why don't they simply stop acting so cagily and publish their detailed expense claims? So far only one MP has done so, and just this Monday I received more obstruction from the Commons rejecting my FOI request for the names and salaries of all MPs' staff. If they've nothing to fear they should have nothing to hide."

No one can tell if our MPs are upright or utterly corrupt - If politicians don't want to be seen as 'fat cats', they should reveal all expenses (The Guardian, 6 March 2008)

Heather Brooke article in the Daily Mail: How I called our MPs to account over their fat expenses (despite the best efforts of Speaker Michael Martin) (Daily Mail, 8 March 2008)