The Speaker of the House of Commons is attempting to block the publication of MPs’ expenses that are believed to show that some rent their taxpayer-funded homes to each other.
John Bercow has written to the expenses regulator warning him not to disclose official documents that show the identities of MPs’ landlords for “security” reasons.
Publication of the names, which was supposed to take place today, would expose the extent to which MPs are exploiting a loophole in the rules that allows politicians to rent their homes to one another. The loophole means that MPs can still effectively build up property nest eggs at taxpayers’ expense, despite official attempts to stop the practice following the expenses scandal.
Sources at the expenses regulator confirmed that “some MPs” were engaged in the practice.
In a letter released last night, it emerged that Mr Bercow had written to the regulator claiming that publication of details of MPs’ landlords jeopardised their security and had led to “grave concerns” in the House of Commons.
“The processing of the data … could involve causing unwarranted damage and distress,” the Speaker wrote in the letter to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa). “I should be grateful if you and your colleagues would reconsider such a plan.”