BUSINESS QUESTION – MPs' HOME ADDRESSES – 30 October 2008
Dr Julian Lewis: Earlier this year, the Leader of the House made a decisive intervention on the question of the confidentiality of Members' home addresses. Will she consider doing the same thing again in the light of the fact that the Ministry of Justice is considering whether in future candidates' addresses at general elections must be revealed when they nominate themselves and on various documents later? The guidance from the Information Commissioner in such situations is usually that the first part of the postcode is enough. Bearing in mind that the reason the judges made their dangerous decision early this year to allow home addresses to be revealed was the fact that they are revealed every four or five years in general elections, may we now consider closing this loophole?
[The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): This matter is under consideration by the Ministry of Justice and I know that it found the hon. Gentleman's suggestions extremely helpful. He takes a thoughtful approach to this. It is obviously in the public interest for the public to know when they come to vote in an election whether a candidate lives in their area or miles away, but whether the precise address, including the flat number in a block in a particular street, should be given is questionable. We need to ensure that the public have the information that they need and the MPs, candidates and their families have the privacy that they need. I am sure that hon. Members can work together to sort this out.]