Commons watchdog urged to stop publishing MPs' journey details

MPs are locked in a fierce row with the parliamentary watchdog over fears that it is publishing information that can identify where politicians live, the Guardian can reveal.

Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, has ordered colleagues to stop submitting mileage expenses in parliament as a result of the controversy, which he claims is unacceptable following the murder of Jo Cox and credible threats aimed at other politicians.

He said data now required to make a claim for mileage, including the locations of journeys travelled to and from on a daily basis, was now being publicised by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Ipsa insists the information is not detailed enough to locate a specific property and is not offering to change the rules, but Robertson gave examples of rural MPs for whom a village with as few as four homes was listed.

Labour has also expressed concern, with one senior source asking why the watchdog felt the need to “plough on” over the issue.

Robertson said: “Ipsa have been aware for some time that they are inadvertently confirming the home locations of parliamentarians, which runs contrary to basic security advice. This should be an immediate priority for urgent changes.”

He said he supported journey information being provided to Ipsa for auditing purposes, but was concerned about the decision to publicise it. He claimed that a febrile atmosphere in politics had resulted in a number of colleagues in different parties…


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