Peter Hoskin

An obscure form of transparency

An obscure form of transparency
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And so here it is: the list of Members' allowances for 2004-08, uploaded - after months of delay and prevarication - onto the Parliament website earlier this morning.  You can hunt down any MP from those years - apart from some, like Blair and Boris, who have left the House - and download pdf copies of their expense claims.  All very open at first glance, except... well, these are censored versions of the claim forms.  MPs have been able to sift through them with a marker-pen, and take out addresses, unsuccessful claims and other details which have been crucial to the Daily Telegraph investigation.  As Paul Waugh points out over at his blog, the result is pages and pages of black redactions.  All in all, the whole process feels oddly like one step forward and around one step back: opacity in the name of transparency. And - as the resignation of Kitty Ushher last night showed - it's far from enough to draw a line under the scandal.

UPDATE: ConservativeHome are running a rolling blog of the revelations coming out of this.