House of Commons authorities have destroyed all evidence of MPs expenses’ claims prior to 2010, meaning end of official investigations into scandal
MPs accused of abusing the unreformed expenses system will escape official investigation after the House of Commons authorities destroyed all record of their claims, the Telegraph can reveal.
John Bercow, the Speaker, faces accusations he has presided over a fresh cover-up of MPs’ expenses after tens of thousands of pieces of paperwork relating to claims made before 2010 under the scandal-hit regime were shredded.
Members of the public who have written to Kathryn Hudson, the standards watchdog, to raise concerns about their MP’s claims have been told there can be no investigation due to lack of evidence.
Under the House of Commons’ “Authorised Records Disposal Practice”, which is overseen by Mr Bercow’s committee, records of MPs’ expenses claims are destroyed after three years. The move is necessary to comply with data protection laws, a Commons spokesman said.
However, under that same set of guidelines, the pay, discipline and sickness records of Commons staff are kept until their 100th birthday. Health and safety records are kept for up to 40 years, while thousands of other classes of official documents on the day-to-day running of the House are stored indefinitely in the Parliamentary Archive.
It also means that “cold case” investigations like that into Maria Miller, the former Culture Secretary, by the expenses watchdog are now unlikely.
In April Mrs Miller was forced to resign from the Cabinet and apologise to the Commons after Mrs Hudson ruled she had wrongly claimed thousands of pounds in mortgage payments between 2005 and 2009 on a home occupied by her parents. The case was first uncovered by the Telegraph in 2012.
TAP – will UKIP or The Greens be any different to the LinLabCon? Time to bring on independent candidates.