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MPs in expenses probe will not be identified

The new Commons expenses watchdog is refusing to name MPs under investigation for dubious claims because it would be "unfair". The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which was brought in to clean up the discredited system, initially indicated that politicians would be identified when a formal probe was launched.

It also suggested there would be a "presumption" for hearings with MPs to be held in public. However, the body's compliance officer, Luke March, has now insisted that details will not be disclosed until his inquiries conclude. If the MP is eventually cleared, there will be no official confirmation that they ever faced an allegation.

Ipsa's chairman, Sir Ian Kennedy, told MPs earlier this year that preliminary investigations had been launched into 40 politicians' expenses claims since last year's general election.

Mr March said many of the allegations concerned data entry mistakes by the MP or Ipsa. PA