MPs have been sent a letter by the expenses body IPSA, informing them that as a result of Sir David Amess’s death they are to shortly begin redacting swathes of information being published about MPs’ expenses claims. The letter, sent to Guido, cites “some Members” who since last Friday had voiced concerns about the information being published on travel and constituency surgery venue hire.
Ahead of a wider review – which may include an attack on the information journalists can elicit via FoIs – IPSA announces they are immediately:
“postponing the publication of expenditure information due in November and temporarily removing descriptive detail from previously published claims on our website whilst the review is underway.”
Aside from both the FoI threat and the redactions, which are unjustified and anti-transparent, the main security concern Guido’s heard voiced by MPs this week is that of advertising constituency events and their precise locations in advance. Expenses claims are by very definition retrospective, so Guido cannot see how publishing details of taxi costs, train travel or surgery venue hiring costs is a security risk.
One Labour MP tells The Guardian that IPSA’s publishing of any and all expenses results in increased abuse towards them, and puts colleagues on the defensive “up against hostility about even our stationery budgets.” Not only are MPs turning Sir David’s death into an unjustified exercise in banning online anonymity, it seems some are now trying to find an excuse to return to the old pre-scandal expenses system…
Read the letter in full below: