MPs' allowance climbdown

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Indy Politics

The door will be opened to the publication of MPs' expenses today when the House of Commons backs down in a row over whether their allowances should remain secret.

The Commons authorities will disclose details of the "second homes" allowances paid to 20 prominent politicians since 2004. They include repairs carried out to Gordon Brown's flat in Westminster and David Cameron's mortgage payments on his Oxfordshire constituency house.

The House of Commons Commission, chaired by the Speaker, Michael Martin, will not appeal in a freedom of information case brought by the BBC. Last week, the Speaker came under fire after the Commission decided to fight a similar case in the High Court. The appeal, involving 14 named MPs, was made on the grounds that private addresses would have to be disclosed, and will still be pursued.

But the second case, involving six MPs, does not pose any security threat because less detailed information was requested.

So the Commons authorities decided to bow to growing demands for openness after the scandal involving Derek Conway, the Conservative MP who paid his two sons as researchers while they were still at university.