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UK censorship of MPs' expenses condemned

world Updated: Jun 19, 2009 13:01 IST

PTI
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British government's efforts to ensure transparency in the ongoing MPs' expenses row has backfired with all-round condemnation of attempts to censor details of the expenses when they were put online.

Almost every bill, invoice or statement of expenses of every MP made public yesterday was covered in swathes of black ink on the ground of security.

Information campaigners and others were quick to call it an "operation to protect the greedy in the supposed new era of transparency".

Critics said none of the expenses details that led to a public outcry and resignation of several ministers would have come to light on the basis of what has been released online.

All unsavoury details of the MPs expenses had been published by The Daily Telegraph, which has in its possession the uncensored details, and is likely to continue publishing them.

It cost parliament 2 million pounds to scan 1.2 million items of bills, invoices and statements and out them online, after blacking out substantial portions with black ink. Censoring of the details was also criticized by MPs who had nothing to hide.