Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 17:46 UK

MPs FOI expenses decision delayed

MPs in the Commons
Fresh light is being shed on MPs' expenses

A High Court decision on whether MPs expenses should be fully disclosed has been deferred to a later date.

It follows a full day of legal argument at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The House of Commons is fighting to avoid releasing the details of the expenses of 14 MPs and former MPs under the Freedom of Information Act.

They argue the publication of the MPs' second home addresses in a receipt-by-receipt breakdown of expenses would compromise security.

The FOI request, by campaigner Heather Brooke, relates to the financial year 2005/06 and includes Gordon Brown, David Cameron and the former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell among other senior figures.

'No realistic prospect'

Partial details were released earlier this month, revealing spending under broad categories such as mortgage interest payments and groceries.

But Ms Brooke continues to press for the publication of a full receipt-by-receipt breakdown.

The Commons authorities argued in court earlier that MPs had a reasonable expectation that there would not be full disclosure of expenses - only their total expenses.

They also argued that addresses should not be made public for security reasons and that this should apply not simply when there are specific security concerns for specific MPs but to all MPs

It may be the case that future security considerations would apply and if addresses had already been published these couldn't be "airbrushed," counsel for the Commons argued.

The senior judge on a bench of three - Sir Igor Judge - raised the possibility of referring the whole matter back to the Information Tribunal and said there was "no realistic" prospect of reaching a judgment on Wednesday.

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