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Speaker's Expenses & Gifts (2016)

Request

I'd like to request FOI access to the Speaker's expenses for 2015-16 (or the most up to date returns), including but not limited to:

  • Information on travel
  • Information on gifts purchased/received
  • Information on Speaker's procurement card

 

Response

In line with the House’s commitment to greater transparency, details of the Speaker’s official travel costs are published quarterly and Information from June 2013 to June 2016 is available on our transparency pages.

As the information you request is reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), your request is refused. In refusing your request the House is applying the exemption set out in section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOIA. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

Travel data from 1 July to the date of your request is anticipated to be published by November 2016 and is therefore withheld under section 22 (intended for future publication) of the Act. Section 22 is a qualified exemption, and accordingly we have to consider whether the public interest is in withholding the information or in disclosing it. The arguments for and against disclosure are detailed below.

The general argument in favour of releasing information is that there is a public interest in being able to scrutinise aspects of the House of Commons where that information might be easy to access and will not prejudice the House. Against disclosure the argument is the public interest in permitting public authorities to publish information in a manner and form and at a time of their own choosing. It is a part of the effective conduct of public affairs that the general publication of information is a conveniently planned and managed activity within the reasonable control of public authorities. Where the decision has been made in principle to publish, there is a reasonable entitlement to make arrangements to do so.

  1. Gifts received

This information is held by the House of Commons. Data up until 6 July 2015 is already publicly available on our disclosures pages. 

    2. Gifts purchased

This information is not held by the House of Commons. No gifts have been purchased between 1 April 2015 and 16 August 2016.

    3. Speaker’s Procurement Card

This information is not held by the House of Commons. Mr Speaker does not have his own procurement card.