Wednesday 10 June 2009

MPs' expenses story has global impact

At the Frontline Club debate on MPs' expenses on Monday Telegraph assistant Andrew Pierce mentioned how there was worldwide interest in his paper's disclosures, with journalists from China and Turkey seeking interviews.
Heather Brooke, the journalist who led the FoI legal battle for MPs' expenses to be made public, tells on her website Your Right to Know how she has been inundated with interview requests from all over the world.
"Apart from the British media, I’ve been in Le Monde in France, El Pais in Spain, CNN and the New York Times in the USA plus various other newspapers, TV and radio from Japan, Italy, Germany, Romania, New Zealand, Australia, Greece and Chile."
She adds: "What’s amazing isn’t just the interest in the story but the way journalists and citizens of those countries immediately start to wonder: ‘What about our politicians? What are they doing with our money?’ "
Brooke comments: "And so the campaign for transparency and direct accountability goes global! Even while our House of Commons continues to work behind the scenes to block future disclosures, other countries are moving to greater openness."
According to Brooke, two political parties in New Zealand have announced proactive disclosure regimes and in the US the quarterly records showing how members of the House and Senate use their personal office funds are being put online.

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