Thursday, 14 May 2009

Heather Brooke nails Labour MP detractor

Freedom of information campaigning journalist Heather Brooke, who led the battle to make MPs expenses public, has nailed one of her detractors.
Brooke picked up a point in Roy Greenslade’s Evening Standard column yesterday in which he claimed some mud was being thrown in her direction and mentioned that a Labour MP had suggested she had a vested interest. The suggestion was made, Greenslade said, when he and the investigative journalist Nick Davies gave evidence to the Commons Media, Culture and Sport Select Committee.
Heather Brooke being Heather Brooke has done a bit of digging and found the oral evidence given to the Parliamentary Committee examining press standards, privacy and libel. On her website Your Right To Know she has now reproduced the questioning by MP Alan Keen of Nick Davies and Roy Greenslade:
Alan Keen: There is a woman who has frequently been on television and in the press who appears to me to be a campaigner for freedom of information, an American I think.
Nick Davies: Heather Brooke?
Keen: Yes. Does she earn a living from this?
Davies: She is a journalist. She is a specialist in freedom of information. I think she is actually British and she worked in America and used their Freedom of Information Act, came back to this country just as ours was about to come into force so wrote a book which is a guide.
Keen: I have seen her being interviewed.
Davies: You are wondering whether she has some vested interest.
Keen: Yes, because I have seen her on television being interviewed.
Roy Greenslade: I know her quite well. She teaches the students at City. She is a single interest journalist in the old tradition of having one niche interest and following it to its logical conclusion. She lives, in monetary terms, on the margins."
Brooke notes on her website: "It was not without a chuckle at his chutzpah that I saw my detractor was the Member for Feltham & Heston, Alan Keen. With his wife, Ann, the couple are known as ‘Mr and Mrs Expenses’ for using £175,000 of taxpayers’ money to help buy a flat near Parliament – while they already had a constituency home nine miles away. They claimed more than £300,000 between them last year alone."
Here is some free information to MPs. Don't mess with Heather Brooke.

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