Data protection laws come to the rescue of poor, underpaid UK MPs

Shredding of expenses paperwork sparks cover-up accusations


Release uncensored material

The shredding of the records means that the sole unredacted and uncensored copy of MPs' expenses for the period prior to public outrage prompting reform is contained in a leaked CD obtained by the Daily Telegraph. The paper used this information to write a series of exposés back in 2009.

There are calls for the paper to release these records.

Heavily redacted versions of records from the controversial 2005-2009 period remain online on Parliament's website. However, key details including MPs' addresses have been redacted from these documents. The omission of this information makes it more difficult to investigate allegations relating to accommodation claims such as whether second homes were improperly "flipped".

The destruction of records was revealed after Tory activists asked Kathryn Hudson, the standards watchdog, to investigate accommodation claims made by Andrew Turner, their local Isle of Wight Conservative MP, between 2004 and 2010. Hudson, The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, wrote back citing “availability of evidence” in her decision not to investigate.

“All records relating to expenses claims before 2010 have now been destroyed. No unredacted information is now available here nor any notes of conversations or advice given to Mr Turner which might establish the facts,” she wrote.

Turner disputes any impropriety, telling the Daily Telegraph his claims were in compliance with the rules in place at the time. ®

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