CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

'MPs' HOME ADDRESSES'

Submitted to: Sunday Telegraph – 6 July 2008
For the greatly shortened version actually published, scroll to bottom of page.

The headline on your Political Editor’s story (July 6) should have stated: “Shame on you, says Tory riled by bid to reveal MPs’ addresses” – not MPs’ “expenses”, as it did. No doubt, this was an inadvertent error. The question of addresses was dealt with separately from that of expenses, and my campaign in this respect was in no way opposed by the Conservative shadow cabinet as the story wrongly implies.

Contrary to the innuendo against me in your leading article, my concern has been solely about the folly of trying to force the mass publication of MPs' private addresses, in easily accessible form, for the benefit of any obsessive or terrorist at home or abroad. The fact that some of them are published, some of the time, is no justification for all of them being published, with total accessibility, all of the time.

On July 3, Parliament resolved, without a Division, that the home addresses of MPs should not be made public in response to Freedom of Information requests, despite the best efforts of your Deputy Political Editor. In his defence, you observe that Ben Leapman "has explained that the only reason for wanting an address is to check that the MP is in fact living at the property he claims that taxpayers should pay for".

Unfortunately, there are many other people out-and-about who would have made very different use of free access to 646 MPs’ private home addresses, if his reckless attempt to reveal them all had succeeded. I am delighted to have managed to thwart it, with the full support of hundreds of my colleagues, including many who are prominent Freedom of Information campaigners.

It is also significant that the Information Commissioner has recently issued a statement taking a position entirely in line with my case and for precisely the same reasons of privacy and, above all, security.

Readers who wish to see what I actually argued can do so in the Commons Speeches section of my website:
(at http://www.julianlewis.net/commons-speeches/3435:disclosure-of-mps-home-addresses-138
and at http://www.julianlewis.net/commons-speeches/3438:mps-home-addresses-141).

(Dr) JULIAN LEWIS MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

* * * *

'MPs IN DANGER'

Sunday Telegraph – 13 July 2008

My concern over the issue of MPs' expenses is solely about the folly of trying to force the publication of our private addresses, in easily accessible form, for the benefit of any obsessive or terrorist, and not about the expenses as you suggest (Leading article & News, July 6).

The fact that some addresses are published some of the time is no justification for all of them being published all of the time.

(Dr) JULIAN LEWIS MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA