The Great Debate UK

Leaking in the public interest


nicholas-jonesNicholas Jones is the author of Trading Information: Leaks, Lies and Tip-offs (Politico’s, 2006). He is a member of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom.

Whatever reservations there might be over the way the leaked information was obtained, the publication of hitherto secret details about the endemic abuse of MPs’ expenses was without doubt in the public interest.

I have voiced my concerns in the past about cheque-book journalism and the practice of some newspapers in using dubious methods to influence the news agenda, but the Daily Telegraph deserves to be congratulated for seizing the moment and exposing the greed and double-standards of our elected representatives.

What strengthens the public interest justification for buying a purloined copy of the details being processed by the House of Commons fees office was the fact that MPs had collectively done all they could to try to thwart the release of the data.