The afternoon reverie is shattered by the grinding of metal, the squeal of tyres and the smell of rubber and aviation fuel.
It is the sound of the Gordon Brown’s ‘Hindenburg’ government apparatus simultaneously crash landing whilst performing a full reverse manoeuvre.
Last year the High Court ordered the Commons authorities to publish details, including all receipts, to back up claims made by 14 MP’s under their second homes allowance.
It had been expected that all MPs’ expenses details would then be published but Commons leader Harriet Harman told MP’s last week the government was bringing forward a plan to exempt their expenses from the scope of the Freedom of Information Act.
Just after the end of Prime Ministers Question Time today the government revealed the vote on the FOI proposal would not take place. Harriet Harman said the vote had been abandoned because of the ‘lack of cross party- support’ – Cameron wouldn’t play ball!
The Conservatives denied they had initially struck a deal with Labour not to oppose the changes, saying there was “no question” of the party ever backing the proposals.
Shadow Commons leader Alan Duncan said: “What was wrong with this is that Parliament made the law – the law included Parliament”.
The Lib Dems, who described the FOI exemption proposal as “outrageous”, said the decision was a “humiliating climbdown” by the government.
“It is also a victory for everyone who thinks that politicians should be open and accountable to the people who pay their wages,” said party leader Nick Clegg.
Time for Harriet Harmen to look up the meaning of consensus?