British parliamentary expenses published online after scandalJune 18th, 2009 - 3:48 pm ICT by IANS
London, June 18 (DPA) Details of expenses claims by British members of parliament (MPs) were officially published online Thursday after their leak to a newspaper caused a political storm that threatened the very survival of the government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Claims made between 2004 and 2008 were made accessible to everyone following a High Court ruling demanding transparency under the Freedom of Information Act a year ago.
However, unlike the detailed receipts and documents that were published by the Daily Telegraph newspaper over recent weeks, the material available on www.parliament.uk from Thursday is lacking some of the more “juicy” information.
Many details, such as addresses for second homes, and important correspondence between individual members and the Fees Office, which authorised the payments, have been blacked out or are missing altogether for security reasons.
The scandal prompted the resignation of a handful of members of parliament - from both Labour and Conservative parties - and led more than 50 to announce that they would not stand again at the next general election.
It rocked the government of Gordon Brown as key cabinet ministers were implicated while some Brown critics took the crisis as an opportunity to attempt to oust him.
Last night (Wednesday), a junior minister in the Treasury, Kitty Ussher, resigned following revelations that she avoided paying capital gains tax by re-designating her second home, a process which became known as “flipping”.
The government has made proposals to change the rules governing parliamentary expenses, promising that it will end parliament being run like a “gentlemens’ club” and introducing a system of external regulation.
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