In July last year, I e-mailed Andrew MacKay my local MP as a concerned constituent asking him why he had voted against transparency on MP's expenses. Here is a copy of the text from my e-mail:
Dear Andrew MacKay,
I am interested to know why you voted yesterday against the measure which would have caused MPs expenses to be audited by an external body.
I thought this measure was wholly sensible and would over time have helped to start to restore the reputation of parliament and MPs expenses claims in the eyes of the public.
I run a company and we all have to spend time each month collating expenses and justifying expenditure on things. I am struggling to understand why it should be any different for MPs.
Would you be able to take a little bit of time to explain your reasoning on this?
Mr MacKay duly responded by letter a few days later:
The salient text of his letter is:
"Let me say immediately I am totally in favour of transparency and that is why later this month conservative MPs are publishing all their expenses online which I am sure is the right way forward. I voted against the motion because it included a daily attendance allowance which I believe to be demeaning for Members of Parliament and quite wrong."
At the time, I took this at face value. I am not sure in what form Tory MPs expenses were published online but there was clearly not much detail as it is only with the leaked information to the Telegraph that the scale of what has been going on has now been uncovered.
I always try to judge people by their actions rather than their words. Mr MacKay's actions in opposing the external audit, whatever he might have claimed his reasons were caused a delay in the release of the expenses. And lo and behold, when they ended up in the public domain he is now involved in probably the biggest scandal of any MP and his future as an MP is seriously in question.
I will leave it up to you to judge how those two facts sit with each other.