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

UK lawmakers may escape further expense abuse investigations after paperwork related to pre-2010 claims was shredded by parliamentary authorities in accordance with data protection regulations, sparking accusations of a fresh cover-up of MPs’ expenses. Houses of Parliament at night-time Under the House of Commons' " …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MPs: Lying, thieving, corrupt gits who think the rest of us are stupid

    I think that's an accurate summary.

    1. emmanuel goldstein

      Re: MPs: Lying, thieving, corrupt gits who think the rest of us are stupid

      they are scum. and this creates a highly dangerous environment, where democracy looks seedy and opens the door to extremism.

      why not go back to the time of Socrates and select the government by lottery?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MPs: Lying, thieving, corrupt gits who think the rest of us are stupid

      We are stupid, we voted for them. We vote along part lines, not the integrity of the individual.

      1. Riku

        Single Recoverable Proxy?

        http://aardvark.co.nz/rproxy.shtml Opinions? (Not that we're short of them around here...)

      2. theblackhand

        Re: MPs: Lying, thieving, corrupt gits who think the rest of us are stupid RE:AC

        Of course people vote along party lines rather than based on the integrity of the individual - how many politicians do you think we would have otherwise?

    3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: MPs: Lying, thieving, corrupt gits who think the rest of us are stupid

      And the next contestant on Master Mind is John Mann - Specialised subject "The Bleedin' Obvious"

      John Mann plans to table a question asking Commons Speaker John Bercow to explain why the destruction of records was allowed. "It sounds like MPs trying to protect MPs again," Mann told the Independent. "It will make the public very suspicious of what the motive is."

    4. JohnMurray

      Re: MPs: Lying, thieving, corrupt gits who think the rest of us are stupid

      Not really.

      Try:

      ¨MPs´: Lying, thieving, corrupt gits who couldn´t give a toss about us¨ (except at election time, and not for long afterwards)

    5. FlatSpot
      Facepalm

      Re: MPs: Lying, thieving, corrupt gits who think the rest of us are stupid

      We are stupid.. Not heard of a safe seat? Is that more democratic than say, North Korea?

  2. David Pollard

    Inland Revenue rules

    OK it's HMR&C these days, this isn't quite the same as a tax return, and there's something of a conflict between the more stringent requirements of public service and the necessary flexibilities of parliamentary privilege ... but .. if you don't have the paperwork to back up your tax return then you have to prove that their estimates of what has occurred is wrong.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: Inland Revenue rules

      Yeah, wouldn't it be lovely if MP's had to abide by the same laws as everybody else in the country?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remind me please...

    ...how long are DNA samples retained for?

  4. eddystone82

    HMRC

    How does this conform with HMRC needing accounts to be kept for 6 years?

    1. Velv
      Big Brother

      Re: HMRC

      CH14800 - Record Keeping

      HMRC can specify in writing that records can be retained for shorter periods. It does (as of 03/11/14) state they "have not specified any shorter periods so far". Perhaps a retrospective award is about to be granted

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This leaked CD...

    So what's stop the newspapers just adding whatever they like?

    After all there were obviously various deliveries of dungeon equipment to various MPs...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK lawmakers?

    Breakers, more like.

  7. Christoph

    There must be someone, somewhere, who is surprised by this. Probably in the remoter parts of New Guinea.

    1. Disgusted of Cheltenham

      Political debate is alive and well all over Papua New Guinea. The Wantok system does complicate running a Westminster-style democracy, but the interest in MPs' expenses is no less. E.g.

      http://www.ipbc.com.pg/michael-medical-morauta/

      Anyway, we're due to get a brand new EU data protection regulation soon and that with trump the DPA. I'm sure if you have suggestions on how to stop that being abused as an excuse to do nothing or hide information they can be filed in the usual place.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Oh come on people...

    The MPs spent so many years licking someone's arse (some literaly...), it's their right to abuse the expenses...

  9. Ilmarinen
    Coat

    There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever...

    ... of any wrongdoing by Honorable or Right Honorable Members in their expenses claims.

    Oh good, that's OK then. I'll get my coat...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should be a requirement that your MP sends a summary of their claims to everyone in their constituency with the right to raise objections.

  11. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    I fail to understand.

    How are public expenses classified as personal information?

    1. KroSha
      Big Brother

      Re: I fail to understand.

      Because they are their expenses, paid out of their pockets, not yours!

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: I fail to understand.

        But they are not paid out of their pockets; they are paid from the public purse.

        I appreciate that MPs may incur expenses which deserve reimbursement, such as travelling and, to some extent, meal expenses, much as I might incur business expenses if I am required to visit a client on site.

        I get that they initially pay for things and have to get them reimbursed, and that private purchases should remain private, but the moment they claim the money back from the state, for something done as part of their employment in service of the state, that claim should become part of the public record.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I fail to understand.

          "the moment they claim the money back from the state, for something done as part of their employment in service of the state, that claim should become part of the public record."

          Not only should they be part of the public record, they should be subject to public scrutiny for a reasonable period (say, up to two years after the MP leaves office), and if they can't prove they did stuff the cheapest efficient way possible, then pay it back, with interest at wonga-style rates - ie stop taking the p*ss with first class tickets and 4* hotels when standard class and 2* hotels are available

          1. annodomini2
            Devil

            Re: I fail to understand.

            They should acquire a building in London to provide temporary/semi permanent accommodation for MPs with appropriate security, they all seem to like moats and duck ponds.

            So why not the tower of London?

    2. Sykobee

      Re: I fail to understand.

      I agree - anything that is submitted as an expense, i.e., costs related to doing their job that they have paid for up front out of their own money but have claimed back - is surely not personal information that needed to be destroyed after 3 years.

      So I don't buy this reason for destroying the records. In fact the only reason that stands up to scrutiny is to cover up any further scandals from before 2010.

  12. Tom 35

    "It will make the public very suspicious of what the motive is."

    No it won't. They bloody know what the motive is.

  13. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Unhappy

    Lessons of history

    First they shredded the expenses forms...

  14. Chris G Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    The more they know about us; the less we are allowed to know about them

    As per title, Dave and his buddies as well as the other side of the House are increasingly taking more and more information about the population both legally and illegally but want us the people to have less insight as to what they are doing and why.

    I don't see this as a threat to democracy in the UK however, as the last remnants of that particular myth were blown away by the last government and Dave's lot are quite happy with that.

    I think it is harder to get a job as a school caretaker in terms of background checks and continuing transparency than it is to be an MP. Thinking of the children is important but being an MP used to be too.

  15. Kevin Johnston

    Monitoring

    I have always said that MPs should be required to work to the HMRC Rules and Regs for Directors of Limited Companies. That would give very clear limits on what can be claimed and accountability.

    Remind me...If someone chooses to be an MP where part of their job requires them to be in London, why does that permit them to buy a family home in London and charge the mortgage payments to the Tax-payer? All they are supposed to claim is expenses necessary to perform their job as an MP so why do they need more than a one bedroom flat for their time in London?

    1. Mad Chaz

      Re: Monitoring

      Because you can't then resale a 1 bedroom flat you rented and make a profit out of it. You buy a house, let the idio ... taxpayers pay for it, then sale it and pocket the difference.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Monitoring

      "All they are supposed to claim is expenses necessary to perform their job as an MP so why do they need more than a one bedroom flat for their time in London?"

      Why should the sponging fuckers get even a flat on expenses? When I took a job in London on an salary similar to an MP, with a long distance commute and long hours (but without ridiculously long holidays), nobody gave me free first class rail travel, nor offered me a big pit of cash to buy a place in London.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Monitoring

        Ledswinger, your employer had some say in what he was willing to pay out for your efforts.

        MP's employers have no fucking say at all, MPs just vote themselves a payrise and fringe benefits when they like. Maybe it should be put to a public vote, particularly the benefits side of things.

        Oh and an agreement that MPs can't receive gifts, money or jobs from companies they have dealt with while in office, ever.

  16. The humble print monkey

    A ministerial equivalent to the wunch

    If a wunch is the collective term for bankers, might I suggest either a flacitude or a dysfunction of upstanding members?

    1. Rusty 1

      Re: A ministerial equivalent to the wunch

      Did you perhaps mistype bunch-o-cunts?

      Can't be sure, I didn't imagine it.

      But surely, one way or another, they but not their chits must go. The chits must forever be bound to their necks.

  17. Zap
    Alert

    The real MP Crime

    This is terrible but it is a lot worse than you think.

    We had MP's abusing their expenses, flipping properties 3 times (Hazel) each with a new expensive flat screen TV at our expense, yet the total fiddled was estimated at £6,000,000

    So we spent £10,000,000 to create IPSA (Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) they are not fit for purpose, they are not independent and it is these clowns who say MP's should get a £11,000 rise (more money than a Health Care Assistant at your local hospital gets.

    It was Blair who increased their Salaries and put this expenses system in place.

    We still can't sack these bar stewards and below the MP's we have the completely rotten Civil Servant infrastructure, these are the people that tell new MP's who come with good ideas "that is not how we do things around here".

    Then the whips step in, vote with the party or we will leak you playing with small boys or hiring a nanny from outside the EU with no visa. They are so anti-democratic, telling MP’s to vote against the wishes of their constituents.

    MP's that are a professional politicians should be banned, you should have to have worked for at least 10 years doing something in the real world, does not matter what job.

    MP's insult our intelligence, they forget it is the voter who elects them not the party. Consider the EU vote, Labour insults our intelligence by not even giving us the option to vote while Cameron will renege on whatever promises he makes as he did with the Scottish the day after their referendum by putting in this English nonsense that kicks it into the long grass.

    DO THESE IDIOTS THINK WE ARE STUPID

    That is why I will vote UKIP, not because I agree with their policies but because I know they will expose the shams wherever they find them, just like Farage does in this video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJHETdxwv8Y

    Of course if I had a choice, to quote Richard Burton in this film

    "I would bring the whole edifice down on their unworthy heads"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=RcukyYDcxEA#t=51

    I would make every MP have to get a sponsor, we all know they are on the fiddle with private companies giving them non exec directorships, so why not be open about it, but the other change I would make is to take away their ability to vote, the HOC would become a debating chamber, any MP could propose new law but WE would vote on it. Very easy to do, then we really would get the laws we want and deserve. No expenses, no costs from the public purse. no £250,000 on portraits of themselves. Zero, Nada, Nichts, rien de tout!

    But for now UKIP is the only way to send these clowns a message that we have had enough of them.

    Yes it will mess up politics, imagine if Labour got most votes but had to work with UKIP, you would get exposure of every little trick they tried to pull.

    I can't wait!

  18. Derichleau

    This is their own policy

    I've submitted a number of complaints to the ICO over the years about companies holding on to my personal data indefinitely because they don't have a data retention policy in place. One of those complaints is currently being investigated by the PHSO. In my experience, as long as the organisation can demonstrate that they have a data retention policy in place the ICO couldn't care less. And if they don't, the ICO will just advise them to do so.

    The fact that the Authorised Records Disposal Practice puts a three year data retention on MPs expenses then that's fine. However, bearing in mind the public's interest they might want to increase this to say six years.

    webmaster www.mindmydata.co.uk

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