How convenient of the data protection act

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 Daily 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.

Sigh.

When’s that multiple member gallows going to be ready?

10 thoughts on “How convenient of the data protection act”

  1. Don’t we not have to keep expense receipts for 6 years to comply with tax law?
    Do the laws applying to you and I not apply to MP’s?

  2. surely expenses with potential tax implications need to be retained for seven years to comply with HMRC regulations? They do in every other business

  3. Doesn’t the Telegraph have most of the evidence anyway which could be made available to HMRC (were it actually still on the case)? Shredding the claims and the back-up chitties (if there are any) just demonstrates the bad faith (and naivete) of Bercow and those he’s trying to protect.

  4. @Umbongo – good point – if this was done at Bercow’s behest then it’s pretty sure that Labour have more to lose than the Tories when further claims come out. He’s not in the business of doing Cameron any favours, despite technically being a Tory

  5. Umbongo,

    Yes:

    It means that the Telegraph, which exposed the scandal that rocked Parliament in 2009 after obtaining a leaked CD, holds the only unredacted record of claims made under the unreformed system.

    So Bercow’s corrupt and a fuckwit. He thinks he’s cunningly stopped further investigations, when in fact he’s simply ensured that Parliament cannot refute any charges made by The Telegraph.

    And they’ve not even tried to make it look plausible:

    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.

    And there’s no doubt that a deliberate decision was taken to destroy the records:

    A House of Commons spokesman said the policy on destroying MPs’ expenses records was “long-standing”, but it was originally set by the Members Estimate Committee, which is now chaired by Mr Bercow.

    However, committee minutes seen by this newspaper show that in March 2010, in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal, Mr Bercow’s committee called for the policy to be suspended and all expenses records to be saved.

    Then, in February 2012, the committee discussed and agreed to implement the “existing policy on the retention and disposal of records” relating to expenses.

    Does Bercow not know what brought his predecessor down?

    And what about this independent expenses body? They independently decide expenses policy but MPs still get to decide for themselves whether they feel like destroying records? Jesus wept.

  6. it’s like he’s reading “1984” as an instruction manual – ‘Ooops, into the Memory Hole go all those troublesome expense claims…’

    “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

  7. bloke (not) in spain

    I’d imagine any organisation did this in the real world would be looking at perverting the course of justice charges. Presumably Crown Immunity applies?

  8. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The legal term is ‘spoliation’. It’s a specific offence in US law (it may well be what gets the corrupt IRS bureaucrats) and it got Barclays in hot water when they were sued by a customer. In this particular instance it might be another illustration of the old adage that it’s not the crime that sinks you, it’s the cover-up.

  9. Crown Immunity pretty much no longer applies. Parliament, however, has separate immunity with regard to its own affairs.

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