Tuesday 16 February 2010

Martin Bell on MPs' expenses: 'It was Heather Brooke who brought the House down'

Martin Bell pays tribute to Heather Brooke in the Radio Times today ahead of next weeks' BBC Four drama On Expenses about her five year campaign to make MPs' expenses public.
Bell writes: "There would have been no front page  revelations had it not been for a largely unknown investigative reporter called Heather Brooke. It was Brooke who brought the House down."
He adds: "Brooke's achievement has been to give us a resource  - the raw facts of how much the MPs spend and on what - by which we can judge their integrity."
Bell does say the real scandal would not have been exposed but for the discs obtained by the Telegraph - which he describes as "relatively cheap chequebook journalism that was manifestly in the public interest."
He has written a book, as have Telegraph journalists, about the expenses' affair- A Very British Revolution: the Expenses Scandal and How to Save Our Democracy.
But, Bell says of Brooke: "In my book, she is the hero of the whole affair. I'm not sure the Telegraph gave her enough credit."
Bell also reveals that he had wanted to call his book Swindlers' List but was talked out of it by his cautious publisher.
On Expenses is broadcast by BBC Four on Tuesday, February 23 at 9pm. Picture: Brian Cox as Speaker Michael Martin.

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