Sir George will oppose move to block publication of MP's expenses
21 Jan 2009
"I believe MP’s should be subject to the same degree of scrutiny as others in the public sector, and that our audit procedures should reflect best practice in the public and private sectors. I have put those views in the public domain. My website contains details of my expenditure beyond those which are routinely published, as I believe my constituents are entitled to know how much I cost them and what the money goes on."

"I believe the vast majority of MP’s operate honestly, and the few who break the rules are dealt with robustly by the House. Misuse of expenses has brought to a premature end the career of a number of my parliamentary colleagues."

"MP’s chose not to exempt themselves from the Freedom of Information Act when it was introduced. I believe that was the right decision, and that the subsequent move to seek exemption through a Private Members Bill was misguided. We should not impose obligations on our constituents we are not prepared to bear ourselves. The House also spent some time and money resisting, and ultimately losing, requests for disclosure of MP’s expenses under the FOI Act and this inevitably gave the impression that we had something to hide. I don’t believe we do."

"Last year, we agreed that receipts for itemised items of expenditure should be available, and I understand that a large sum of money has been spent photocopying them, prior to publication. At the eleventh hour, the Government tabled a resolution, to be debated tomorrow, which would withhold this information and substitute for it broader categories of expenditure. Judging from the large number of emails I have had, this has caused much resentment, some adverse publicity and re-ignited the suspicion that we have something to hide."

"I had planned to vote against this proposal tomorrow, but have now heard that the Government have withdrawn it, so there will be no vote. I will wait to see what they propose instead."
 
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