Maclean in new bid to exempt MPs from FoI

The Tory MP seeking to exempt MPs from the Freedom of Information Act today moved to change his private member’s Bill in an attempt to save it from defeat in the House of Lords.

Former Tory chief whip David Maclean said he had put down an amendment guaranteeing that details of MPs’ expenses and allowances would continue to be published.

His move follows a warning from Tory leader David Cameron that the Conservatives would vote against the measure in its current form when it went to the upper chamber.

Economic Secretary Ed Balls – Gordon Brown’s closest political lieutenant – has also said that he believes the Bill should be changed

to ensure the continuing publication of expenses.

Mr Maclean said his amendment would introduce a statutory requirement for the expenses to be published each year.

“We have had the firm assurance of Mr Speaker that we will continue to publish every year the figures for travel, accommodation, incidental expenses, secretarial and other allowances. That assurance has been repeated time and again,” he said.

“However, that assurance has not satisfied some colleagues and I have therefore looked at how we could make that a statutory and binding commitment.

“I hope that this amendment will be taken up in the House of Lords which would then give that absolute guarantee that my opponents are demanding.”

MPs who support the Bill will hope that the changes will quell the public outcry triggered when the Commons voted for it last week.

But the measure could still be sunk amid claims that Mr Maclean is struggling to find a peer who is prepared to sponsor it in the Lords.

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