MPs lose appeal over allowances secrecy

THE House of Commons authorities are considering whether to launch an urgent appeal after losing its High Court attempt today to keep secret the details of MPs' expenses.

THE House of Commons authorities are considering whether to launch an urgent appeal after losing its High Court attempt today to keep secret the details of MPs' expenses.

Three judges ruled that the Information Tribunal acted within its powers when it demanded that a detailed breakdown of MPs' additional costs allowances (ACA) must be provided under the Freedom of Information Act.

Sir Igor Judge (President of the Queen's Bench Division), Lord Justice Latham and Mr Justice Blake, also ruled that the addresses of MPs' second homes should be disclosed.

They said the ACA system was deeply flawed, lacked accountability, and at stake was “public confidence in our system at its very pinnacle, the House of Commons itself.”

They dismissed concerns that revealing addresses would give rise to specific security risks, and said that “in the most pressing cases” exceptions could be made.

The High Court granted a stay on their decision pending a possible urgent appeal to the Court of Appeal next week. It is expected that the Members' Estimate Committee, which is chaired by Commons MPs MPs can purchase goods and improvements up to the value of £23,000-a-year for second homes, but the details of individual claims have never been made public.

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The Information Tribunal ruled in February that the Commons authorities must provide a detailed breakdown of the ACAs of 14 named MPs, including party leaders Gordon Brown, and David Cameron and former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell.

This morning, new Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg released details of his claims.

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