Whilst the Telegraph's expose on MPs' expenses has blown open a lot of scandals, we must not forget that we are still only slightly less in the dark than we were before they did so. Whilst 50-something MPs have been picked out so far, there will undoubtedly be more dodgy dealing, home flipping, rule bending and outright theft buried in the rest of the 1.2 million expenses receipts themselves.
For all the talk of new watchdogs, audit units or quangos, the best way to scrutinise these receipts is by publishing them all, in full detail for the taxpaying public to see. Even after repeated defeats in the Information Tribunals and the High Court over Heather Brooke's valiant campaign to force the publication of this data, the Commons authorities are still dragging their feet. Worse, the details they do plan to publish will not include the addresses of MPs' second homes - meaning that we won't be able to find out who has bought four different houses in one year, whether anyone has revamped a property at taxpayers' expense just before selling it for a massive profit or whether any other piggy has indulged in the same troughing as Margaret Moran by billing the people for a home miles away from her constituency.
The TaxPayers' Alliance has teamed up with Heather Brooke to launch an online petition demanding full publication of the expenses receipts immediately, and guaranteed publication in future. You can sign it here - please do so and circulate it to your friends, family and colleagues. It's our money, it's our Parliament, so we have a right to see what has been claimed.
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... and we will shortly be an independent country again .
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