BUSINESS QUESTION – MPS' HOME ADDRESSES – 19 June 2008

Dr Julian Lewis: Some 235 right hon. and hon. Members have so far signed Early-Day Motion 1620.

[That this House believes that the home address of any hon. or Rt. hon. Member should not be published if he or she objects to publication on grounds of privacy or personal security.]

It is about the dangerous decision of judges that MPs' home addresses should be published. Will there be an opportunity to consider that matter on 3 July? I should like to tell the House about the three polite but firm notes of refusal that I had from the judges who made that decision, after I asked them whether they would give me their home addresses. Clearly, judges believe that they are more at risk from MPs than MPs are from everybody else.

[The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): The hon. Gentleman's Early-Day Motion has shown two things: that there is great concern across the House and that there is something by way of a consensus. The consensus is that there should be transparency and that we should ensure that the public know that public money is being spent properly, and that there are strict and clear rules. That will be the subject of the Members Estimate Committee's proposals about Members' allowances and reimbursement of expenditure. Although hon. Members want to ensure that the public have confidence in how money is spent, it is absolutely clear that we must have the freedom to debate in this Chamber without having to look over our shoulder. It must not be the case that, because our addresses have been published, we cannot speak freely about something controversial.

In response to the hon. Gentleman's point and his Early-Day Motion, I not only propose that the House should have the opportunity to debate the matter on 3 July, but I shall place a resolution before the House so that hon. Members will have the opportunity to vote for the views expressed in the Early-Day Motion.]