Vote for Heather Brooke: Reformer of the year

Vote for Heather Brooke, Reformer of the YearAs MPs continue to defy the findings of Sir Thomas Legg’s enquiry, Left Foot Forward is urging readers to show their displeasure with Britain’s parliamentarians by voting for Heather Brooke (@newsbrooke) as Reformer of the Year.

Ms Brooke is a Freedom of Information campaigner who, according to Reform, “played a leading role in the MPs’ expenses saga, winning a High Court case against the House of Commons for the full disclosure of second homes allowances. The ruling was the driving force behind the resulting reform of the Parliamentary expense system.” She runs the Your Right to Know website. The closing date for the annual award is 31 October 2009.

Writing for Progress, Labour Councillor Theo Blackwell, says:

“One person who deserves much more public recognition than she has received so far for her work is Freedom of Information campaigner and journalist Heather Brooke …

“If the state currently hands out honours to those who have dedicated service for the public good, then the first on their list should be those journalists who – like Brooke – asked the right questions and, in the best traditions that people on the Left have campaigned for, didn’t let up when faced with bureaucratic denial.”

MPs continue to miss the public mood with Labour MP Alan Simpson refusing to hand back £500 in “excessive” cleaning charges while the Mail reports that Jacqui Smith is refusing to repay a £1,500 bill which Sir Thomas Legg has demanded she hand back to taxpayers. Meanwhile, Bill Etherington MP was embarrassed on BBC Newsnight for opposing retrospective legislation of the kind that he had supported.

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  • Will Straw

    RT @Progressonline: Theo Blackwell: It's time to recognise transparency campaigners #progress

  • Labour List

    RT @LeftFootFwd Heather Brooke: Reformer of the Year

  • robvance

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vote for Heather Brooke: Reformer of the Year

  • Liz McShane

    I think there is the danger that the MPs expenses saga is becoming a bit of a witch hunt and a distraction from some core/macro political fundamentals……

  • Paul Lettan

    I think Theo Blackwell is spot on about Heather Brooke. She deserves being made a Dame. She has made a singular contribution to constitutional practice. We should all be grateful.

    No, Liz, with all due respect. This is not a witch hunt. This is about drawing lines in the sand.

    I only hope that Heather might now campaign for a written constitution and an entrenched Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

  • Liz

    paul – I agree that some of the expenses are a complete scandal but it is all get very Daily Mail-esque and we are spending more time on that than important issues that really do effect people’s every day lives – the banking fiasco, unemployment, marginalisation. This expenses saga is becoming very protracted – where do we stop… what about BBC execs…..we are in danger of tarring all MPS with the sam brush and putting off potential people from becoming parlamentarians…. yes I agree there needs to be a big clean up.

  • Chris

    Fully agree – greedy MPs of all parties have supported a self interested and secretive system for too long. There is a simple solution and it is that they comply with normal tax rules like the rest of us, them not being a special case.