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What the Tribunal heard

Martin Rosenbaum | 12:58 UK time, Sunday, 10 February 2008

Last Thursday and Friday the Information Tribunal found itself unusually a focus of media and public attention. It was considering one of the numerous cases about MPs' expenses which have been working their way through the freedom of information process.

The Tribunal hearing featured a fascinating cross-examination of the director-general of resources at the House of Commons, Andrew Walker, as a result of which MPs will now know to check the John Lewis website to see how much they can claim for a particular kind of domestic good.

Sam Coates of the Times has now posted on his blog, Red Box, the best question-by-question record available of Mr Walker's evidence.

Coates states: 'Here is the most comprehensive transcript and notes I could record - the only such note that will be placed in the public domain (no recording devices were allowed)' - in which case he has performed a public service by giving the rest of the world access to the contents of his notes.

UPDATE: I gather that some Commons officials feel that Andrew Walker's remarks, which generated plenty of headlines about ipods and fishtanks, were badly misreported. The merit of what Sam Coates has done on his blog is to provide us with the best available access to Mr Walker's actual words - and he has asked for corrections if his partial transcript contains errors.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 03:52 PM on 12 Feb 2008,
  • seamus mcneill wrote:

I take it that BBC employees whose salaries and expenses are also paid by the public will be expected to provide the same level of detail about their salaries and expenses as are now demanded of MP's.

  • 2.
  • At 02:01 PM on 14 Feb 2008,
  • Terry Bedding wrote:

I have asked Mr. Walker's Office to provide me with a list of those 'domestic items', for which MPs are claiming out of their expenses and allowances. No luck, so far. Should I not be entitled to that information under the FoI Act? And why can I not see any investigative follow-up from the media? If MPs are, indeed, claiming for 'domestic items' out of expenses and allowances, should we not be asking what they use their salaries for?

  • 3.
  • At 03:27 PM on 18 Feb 2008,
  • Turkeybellyboy wrote:

I see that the report has been published today by David Miliband. Perhaps another "good day to bury bad news"...?

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