Tuesday, 31 March 2009

G20 alert

Everyone's preparing for the arrival of the big O tonight (not the title of a video rented by Jacqui Smith's husband, I mean the President, Obama). The main focus is on what presents Obama will bring Mr Brown - a boxed set of the Wire, to coincide with its BBC run?

Meanwhile Eric Pickles, the Tory chairman is tidying up after a "stairheid rammy" at his Commons party last night when a journalist had to be CS sprayed by the police.

Fortunately the arrested hack turns out "not to be one of us", ie not a member of the Lobby, but it seems he was a guest of one of the privileged journalists who can wander the Commons at will.

In other news the search is on for the mole who is, allegedly, offering the Commons expenses of MPs going back years around Fleet Street for £300,000. Sir Stuart Bell is on the case, although no confirmation that the plods have been called in. They're probably a bit busy elsewhere

The Commons Fees Office, suspected source of the leaks, has been working flat out to prepare around a million receipts filed by MPs for publication, after losing a long-running freedom of information battle to keep them secret.

The documents have now started circulating to members for them to check and make representations on which parts should be deleted for security and other reasons. They are expected to prove extremely damaging to many MPs when they are finally published before the summer recess. Total cost of freedom of information estimated at £1.2 million.

One suspects that after the next general election MPs will have to adopt the same open reporting system as MSPs in Scotland.

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