back to article Brown backs down on expenses secrecy

The government will not seek to change the Freedom of Information Act to exempt MPs from disclosing their expenses, Gordon Brown said today, signalling an abrupt U-turn. In a surprise announcement at Prime Minister's questions, Brown said a deal the government made with the Tories to ensure the secrecy amendment had cross- …


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  1. Dave Ross

    Public servants?

    I feel that the title of this post is the hinge point here, the government no longer sees itself as public servants which is why they thought they might stand a chance of pulling this scam off.

  2. Rob

    My voice was among those...

    ... that wrote to their local MP (conservative), my MP's reply was;

    "I and my party will vote against this latest government wheeze"

    They were going to get my vote anyway at the next general election, but then I can't imagine many people will own up to voting for the NuLabour Reich having another turn at being the ruling party.

  3. Manta Bloke

    The only snag is ...

    that they will now start fiddling their expenses and it will end up costing us twice as much.

  4. Ron Murray

    Shoe, meet other foot

    If they've got nothing to hide, they've got nothing to be afraid of, right?

  5. andyb
    Thumb Down

    bad as each other

    ......and the Tories back out at the last minute because it's not a vote winner.

    They are all as bad as each other, self-serving, splineless.......Grrrr......

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Lib dems

    From what i heard the lib dems 'whipped' their members into line straight after labour insisted that their members were whipped

    the tories we're originally going for a free vote, although the brass recommended voting against it

    Harman and Labour must have some serious claims they want to hide seeing as they seemed determined to force through this retroactive law

    And i still think that the no receipts clause should be dropped, if they claim it they will have a receipt for it if they find it to much hard work then maybe they should consider getting a proper secretary rather than employing their spouse

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Tossers who use the term "NuLabour" and "NuLab" are precisely the reason they may still get my vote next time - i.e. because I'd rather anybody else got in than someone voted for by the knee-jerking, Daily Mail-reading idiots typified by this kind of moronic language.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    How much?

    "In 2006-7 MPs claimed a total of £87.6m from the public purse on top of their salaries"

    I looked on the House Of Commons website ( and there are 646 MP's in service across all of the UK.

    £87.6m / 646 = £135,603.71 per MP

    That on top of their salaries? No wonder it was wanting to be kept quiet. Now we can all look at the John Lewis furniture etc...

  9. Anonymous Coward

    BBC are plagiarising you

    On the subject of reducing the cost of government:

    They couldn't even get playmobil!

    (we need a playmobil icon)

  10. Rob


    So sorry that got your goat, if it helps I'll start reading the Daily Mail tomorrow.

    I'll also remember to be extra careful of the language I use so as not to offend you PC'tards in future.

    So just that I'm clear I'm ok to use Reich but not "NuLabour"?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    I also wrote to my MP

    .... I'm still waiting.

    And @AC NuLabour etc. are also terms that us Old Labour people use to express our dissatisfaction with the Thatcher-Lite Labour Government

  12. Mark

    re: bad as each other

    Maybe so, but do you want someone who did good (for any reason) to get a reward for doing it?

    Yes, otherwise there's no reason to do good when bad gets you more.

    It's the same idea as telling a noisy child that if they play nice then they'll get a treat later. The kid isn't being nice because it's the right thing but so that they can get a bit of cake.


    a) the kid is now playing nicely (and may find that this is fun too)

    b) the kid will grow up and realise that it is better to do good in the hope good is done to you

    We're at the stage of teaching a 5 year old. We had to skip "burping them" stage.

    One day, they may be adults.

  13. Mark

    @AC (16:18)

    So because someone uses childish names (NuLab) you'll do something childish and vote whatever the other didn't want.

    Isn't that childish TIMES TWO?

  14. h4rm0ny

    Re: NuLabour

    At this point, the meanest thing the public could probably do to get revenge on New Labour would be to vote them in again. They're probably not expecting it, they'd be stuck with their own horrible mess and the fall out would probably do smaller parties some good. Of course, it would be a bit of nose-face-spiting situation but it would be fun to see Gordon Brown squirming in his own economic mess.

  15. ElFatbob

    @ AC 16:18

    'Tossers who use the term "NuLabour" and "NuLab" are precisely the reason they may still get my vote next time - i.e. because I'd rather anybody else got in than someone voted for by the knee-jerking, Daily Mail-reading idiots typified by this kind of moronic language.'

    Interestingly, my favourite term for them is NuLabia but controversially i don't read the Daily Mail or jerk my knees.

    What scares me is the reasoning(?) twats like you apply to your voting choices.

  16. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    @AC (16:18)

    I'm sorry but I fail to see how the use of a fairly common neologism makes someone a 'tosser' and a 'moron' or indeed a 'Daily Mail-reading idiot'.

    Might I suggest that the act of needlessly insulting random people on the internet and making sweeping generalisations whilst hiding behind a mask of anonymity better qualifies you as the idiot.

    Personally I find the term 'NuLabour' to be quite an apt descriptor for a political party that is typified by style of substance. The fact that they branded themselves 'New Labour' in the first place signifies a certain amount of 'marketing-over-fact' and ironically, nicely alludes to George Orwell's 'Newspeak' which seems more appropriate every day that these individuals remain in power.

    Go ahead and vote for them again if you like, I doubt it will actually make a lot of difference, as 'the other lot' don't appear to be much different. The problem is that power attracts the corruptible and it's nice to see that a piece of legislation that removes oversight from such individuals has been abandoned. If anything, there should be much more public oversight and accountability for our politicians.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    re "Reich"

    According to the corollaries to Godwin's law, you automatically failed in your first post.

    Better luck next time.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my Comment

    First thing that they have done right. Still want them out though.

    Salary the lot of them, AT a reasonable rate.

    They should be doing the job to _make a difference_ not to fill their own coffers further. Until that changes then they will all be in it for the money.

    It really does sum it all up, the fact they want to obscure their expenses from the people who pay them.

    How many of the _real_ people have to submit receipts? ALL OF US, that' s who...

  19. Marc Symonds

    @Mark (16:47)

    "Maybe so, but do you want someone who did good (for any reason) to get a reward for doing it?"

    Yeah, it's called a salary.

  20. Nano nano

    Oh, well ...

    "support that we believed we had from the main opposition party was withdrawn"

    ... it shows that the Daily Mail has some use after all ...

  21. Charles Crawley
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Public servants?

    Government has *never* seen itself as a "Public Servant", it is just a term used to mollify the masses.

    Government is about power. Always has been, always will be.

  22. Cameron Colley

    re: re: bad as each other

    How about, instead of promising them treats, we give them a good, old-fashioned beating? Those beneath contempt should not be "treated".

  23. neil hanvey
    Thumb Up

    i wrote my mp

    and found out from my local paper that he was in america at obamas inaugaration party! although he paid the air fare out of his own pocket so i suppose it's not that bad.

    this is great news

  24. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    Is it fair to consider that MPs by becoming elected have entered into a loving and caring relationship with the public?

  25. Neoc

    To use their own favourite quote:

    ...surely, if they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear. Right?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Special relationship intact

    Obama promises more openness in government, Brown doesn't demolish openness in ours after all.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Lib dems

    >getting a proper secretary rather than employing their spouse.

    I was going to say... This statetement whilst being factual excludes a significant part of the house including the biggest slime ball of them all, Mandy. ...but realized that he's not actually an MP. He's still a slime ball though and the content still applies to those that are MPs and the exclusion sought probably applied to him.

    I also object to the term NuLabour, they should correctly be called OldCons(ervative), Thatcherite Bum-Licking Control Freak Scumbags or anything else that doesn't allude to them being associated with a true Labour party.

  28. Mike Bell

    @Shoe, meet other foot

    "Nothing to hide = nothing to fear" only applies to us plebs, silly!

    Mine's the one with the pocketful of blank taxi receipts...

  29. Mark

    @Cameron Colley

    You need both.

    Punishment only reduces bad actions. It doesn't necessarily mean good actions will result. E.g. do nothing.

    Reward only increases good actions. It doesn't necessarily mean bad actions will be reduced. E.g. do anything.

  30. Mark

    @Marc Symonds

    " "Maybe so, but do you want someone who did good (for any reason) to get a reward for doing it?"

    Yeah, it's called a salary."

    Then every time some MP does something bad, we get MPs saying they need bigger pay.

    And as I said to Cameron, punishment only removes bad activities not promote good ones.

    The only recourse we have to that is to remove the MPs that do bad and put in someone else. Who? Anyone who says more good ideas than the others.

    Which is only possible by getting different MPs in power and "rewarding" those who say "we won't do this stupid thing if we get into power" even if it's only because they want to be voted in. Because if they don't do it, we vote THEM out.


    The first two years are spend undoing the mess of the last lot and removing people that are pro the last lot.

    The next year is putting your own people in.

    The next year you get stuff done.

    The fifth year is spend trying to keep power.

    So if you KEEP rotating these bastards, even if they are all as bad as each other, they are only 20% as bad as if the old ones stayed in.

  31. Rob

    Re: Nulab, etc.

    OK, then. How about "Zanu Labour"? Or what about "Neo Arbeit (Macht Frei)"?

    I'm a different Rob, BTW.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand..

    Practice what you preach Mr Brown.

    If you want to use the term "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" then you bloody well better make MP's expenses public.

  33. Mark Fenton
    Black Helicopters


    ZaNuLabour more like...

  34. VulcanV5
    Paris Hilton

    Anonymous Cowards To Vote Labour Shock

    I've been wondering how best to characterise the several million voters who at the next General Election will vote Labour.

    Good to see El Reg is on the ball by letting one such voter on here.

    It's not worth saying that Brown et al have long since resigned themselves to at least 13 years in the political wilderness and so couldn't give a bugger what they do now so long as their pension pots are OK.

    So I won't.

    Not worth saying, either, that a recent secret Labour Party report analysing the political make-up of Local Authorities up and down the country concluded that once Labour is the party of national opposition, then Tory-controlled Councils will fall to Labour because all voters are stupid and at local level vote against whichever party happens to be in power at Westminster.

    So I won't mention that, either.

    What a tragedy though: this country would have made a great republic if only it had had sufficient bananas.

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