Statement by the Speaker: MP safety

19 October 2012

The Daily Telegraph has today (Friday 19 October) printed a letter from the Speaker of the House of Commons which corrects inaccurate commentary around the House of Commons' concern for the safety of MPs and the publication of landlord details.

The full text of the letter from the Speaker is as follows:

"I am writing in response to the article in the Daily Telegraph dated 18th October concerning my letter to Sir Ian Kennedy, Chair of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, about the safety and security of MPs. The sub-heading to the article says that I am "attempting to block the publication of MPs' expenses..." This is not so. Since May 2010 neither the Speaker nor the House of Commons has had anything to do with the rules regarding parliamentary expenses or the policing of them. This responsibility was quite rightly given to IPSA, a completely independent body. I strongly supported this change then and I continue to do so. I would also support IPSA in taking action if any Member of Parliament were found to be in breach of the rules. Moreover, if IPSA believes that there is a flaw in the current rules whereby an MP may rent from another MP (unless they have a close connection), it has not merely the right, but the duty, to change them to its satisfaction. 

My reason for writing to Sir Ian Kennedy was simply to raise the concerns of our security advisors and Members from across the House for the safety of MPs if landlords' details were to be disclosed. As Speaker, I have no knowledge of Members' rental arrangements. This is properly a matter between them and IPSA, and I have neither the authority nor any desire to "block" proper publication of those details. My interest here is solely the security and safety of elected representatives, many of whom often receive unpleasant threats to them and their families, as the House authorities and the police are both aware."

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