Tory MP tells why he switched to Labour

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The Independent Online

Political Correspondent

A Conservative MP has told a constituent he voted in favour of disclosing MPs' earnings last week after he and four other Tories initially voted against disclosure and then switched to back a Labour amendment.

Harry Greenway, Tory MP for Ealing North, has told a constituent: "I voted to make public parliamentary earnings outside the parliamentary salary by MPs. I agree with you that the public have a right to know these things."

But in the first key vote, he voted against disclosure of "fees and benefits" to the commissioner for standards. Only after John Major was defeated, by the surprisingly large margin of 51, did Mr Greenway and four other Tory MPs change sides to support Labour in a second, technical vote.

The other Tory MPs who changed sides were: Nirj Deva, MP for Brentford and Isleworth; David Harris, who retires from his St Ives, Cornwall, seat at the next election; Robert Key, MP for Salisbury; and Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley.

Mr Evans said last night that he had opposed disclosure but saw no point in voting against it once the first vote was lost.

Mr Greenway told the Ealing Gazette his first vote was a "technical hitch". He had not realised the two Labour amendments were linked. "These things are very complicated."