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Farron fights to keep MPs' expenses public

January 21, 2009 10:21 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has cancelled all his engagements this Thursday to vote against a government move to exempt MPs' expenses from the Freedom of Information Act.

Mr Farron, who usually travels back to work in his constituency on Thursdays, is extending his stay in London especially to vote against the government's plans.

If the move tomorrow is passed by MPs, Parliament could be allowed to overturn any past victories by campaigners to force MPs to publish details of all their individual receipts for their expenses. The changes would be retrospective, blocking all past and pending requests for more information on areas like second homes and maintenance expenditure.

A similar bill to keep MPs' expenses secret was proposed in 2007 by neighbouring Conservative MP for Penrith and the Border, David Maclean, but he failed to find a sponsor in the House of Lords.

Speaking before the vote on Thursday, Mr. Farron said:

"I will be voting against this move on Thursday alongside other Liberal Democrat MPs because I believe in an open democracy.

"As elected representatives, MPs should be open to public scrutiny. If this move is passed it will be a very bad day for democracy indeed."