CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

POINT OF ORDER – INSECURITY OF IPSA WEBSITE – 21 July 2010

Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I understand fully that any expenses system, including one involving home accommodation, must retain records of hon. Members' private home addresses, private telephone numbers and private bank details. But were you as disturbed as I was to read in The Times on 15 July that, owing to a glitch in the website, all such details became accessible to 1,300 hon. Members and their assistants, who are entitled to log on to their own part of the website? Such mistakes can always happen with online systems. Will you, Mr. Speaker, take up with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, and, if necessary, with the Information Commissioner's Office, the necessity to impress upon IPSA that such private details should not be held in any online system whatsoever, as there is absolutely no need for the information to be held in that vulnerable way?

[Mr Speaker: I was as disturbed as the hon. Gentleman by this very unfortunate incident and breach of security. The Speaker's Committee on IPSA is now the appropriate forum through which concerns about matters of operation or policy can be transmitted to IPSA. I have regular meetings with representatives of IPSA. It will not be my normal practice to talk in this House about the detail of those exchanges, but the hon. Gentleman has raised a very serious point, and I am aware of other Members who have expressed similar concerns. Those concerns will be transmitted, and I will be happy to play my proper role in helping to transmit them.]