Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:34 am on 22nd January 2009.

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Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Chair, Modernisation of the House of Commons Committee, Minister of State (Government Equalities Office), The Leader of the House of Commons , Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee, Party Chair, Labour Party, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party 11:34 am, 22nd January 2009

There is going to be a full debate on these issues straight after business questions. I think that what really causes a blow to the reputation of all Members is when any individual Member abuses the House allowances to line their own pockets. That is what undermines the reputation of the House, which is why we are bringing forward tougher rules, a more robust audit and more transparency.

The hon. Lady's party has been consistent in arguing, as we did, for a Freedom of Information Act, which we actually brought in, and her Front-Bench spokesman, Mr. Heath, was quite right to criticise the Johnny-come-latelies in the Tory party who never did freedom of information when they were in government. As I say, at least the Liberals have been consistent and I would say to the hon. Lady that it is right for her, along with the rest of her party, to continue to call for greater transparency, but it is also very important not to get into a party political Dutch auction as to who can do most to besmirch the reputation of MPs.

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