I did say that the Parliamentary Fees Office was going to be very vulnerable as a result of all of these leaks, although not in the way I had predicted.
First, Andrew Walker, the head of the Office, has been condemned for not having an accountancy qualification. The merit of that argument has been shot down by my old colleague Sara Bedford, so I won't add anything to her comments, except to note that there are very few HMRC officials with an accountancy qualification, and we seem to administer the tax system pretty well in spite of that.
However, what I did discover is that the leak may very well not have come from there. In fact, the expenses information collation had been contracted out to a private company, so the leak might just as easily have come via that route.
Today, though, I want to address the proposal that an independent group be set up to audit MP expenses. It's a rubbish idea and is designed to protect MP's, not to set proper limits on their expenditure. In short, it's not the audit that is the problem, it's the rules themselves. The Parliamentary Fees Office is perfectly capable of carrying out a proper audit if given the opportunity and resources to do so. If the rules are lax, the audit has no effect.
If I was a Liberal Democrat MP, I'd be voting this 'reform' down. If it achieves anything, it will be to draw a veil over the issue that Freedom of Information campaigners worked so hard to bring into the open. Clearly, there are those who have learned nothing in spite of the events of the past week...