Feeds

UK watchdog barks at MPs' expenses

Electoral system not too clever either

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

The UK's political sleaze watchdog said yesterday that Britain's electoral system is in dire need of fixing and questioned whether MPs were really the best people to carry out an independent review of their own expenses.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life's annual report said it was impressed that MPs had decided to investigate expenses, but: "We were less impressed by the decision that the review should be conducted by a committee composed solely of parliamentarians ... it is difficult to see how the results can be expected to command full public confidence."

Sir Christopher Kelly, chair of the group, said the impact of Freedom of Information on standards "continues to be a matter of great interest". Speaker Michael Martin went to the High Court to try and keep so-called "John Lewis lists" secret but was over-ruled.

Turning to the other side of the political process, the committee is calling for a move to individual voter registration rather than current household voter registration which "leaves the electoral system in Great Britain more open than necessary to fraud, particularly when combined with increased postal voting".

Kelly noted that the issue was investigated by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and that: "This type of monitoring is more usually undertaken in relation to those states where democracy is new or unstable, such as in some parts of the former Soviet Union or in Africa.

The committee also looked at the workings of the Freedom of Information Act. It welcomed what it describes as a government change of heart on the issue - from trying to restrict FOI requests to moves to greater openness from the releasing of Cabinet minutes on the invasion of Iraq to MPs' expenses and contacts with lobby groups.

The group also called for action on the funding of political parties. It said the perception that donations to political parties result in influence and personal advancement was deeply damaging to public trust in politicians.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life was set up by Prime Minister John Major at the height of Tory sleaze allegations.

The commitee's website is mainly broken today but the report should be up soon. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.