MPs face expenses backlash

British MPs were feeling the full wrath of their constituents as the man who brokered the release of MPs’ expenses claims insisted Parliament would be a better place for the disclosures.

British MPs were feeling the full wrath of their constituents as the man who brokered the release of MPs’ expenses claims insisted Parliament would be a better place for the disclosures.

John Wick, a former SAS officer, was confirmed by the Daily Telegraph as the middleman in the leaking of the detailed breakdown of claims that has rocked Westminster.

He is the head of a corporate intelligence company which contacted newspapers on behalf of the Commons whistleblower who passed over the unedited claims.

Bracknell MP Andrew MacKay, who quit as aide to David Cameron in the wake of the expenses scandal was repeatedly barracked as he faced his constituents.

He resigned from the post last week after confirming that he had claimed for a second home allowance while his wife, Bromsgrove Tory MP Julie Kirkbride, claimed it for another property.

A visibly uncomfortable Mr MacKay appeared last night before more than 300 of his constituents who jeered and heckled, with some calling for him to resign and others demanding he pay the money back.

Meanwhile, Anthony Steen, the Tory MP for Totnes, Devon, who accused voters of “jealousy” over his expenses claims was advised not to attend a crunch constituency meeting for fear it would be “awkward” for him.

He announced his decision not to stand at the next election after details of his £88,000 (€100,000) country house expense claims were published. The invoices included guarding shrubs from rabbits and sowing grass seed.

Mr Wick told the Telegraph he had “no regrets” about his role in getting the information into the public domain, saying the expenses system had been “exposed to its rotten core”.

Mr Wick insisted the details were not stolen and accused the House of Commons authorities of “lax and unprofessional security procedures” in handling the information.

In an article for the Telegraph, he said he had been contacted in March about a hard drive containing all the expenses claims of the past four years.

He did not identify the Commons whistleblower, but said his contact had indicated that “those directly involved in processing the raw data were shocked and appalled by what they were seeing”.

Having looked at the contents of the disc himself, he said, he was convinced the system was “an absolute scandal and everyone had a right to know”.

Mr Wick did not comment directly on whether payment was made for the information, but said one tabloid had sought to purchase individual MPs’ details.

“We were asking for a detailed and thorough expose of the information – this was not information which was to be sold to the highest bidder and was probably best suited to a serious newspaper,” he said.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox