Under cover of the Third Runway controversy, Harriet Harman on Thursday got Justice Secretary Jack Straw to issue a parliamentary order that forbids the publication of MPs' expenses. MPs, with a few honourable exceptions, have been desperate to get this sort of cover ever since the scrutiny of MPs expenses led to such unedifying stories as Tory Derek Conway's employment of his entire family, the existence of the so-called 'John Lewis List', and the willingness of MPs to claim for such essentials as window cleaning (Labour's Barbara Follett) and a pergola and plants for a constituency home (Margaret Beckett).
Harman's convoluted justification - that the expenses information needed to be provided in an "affordable and proportionate way" - is unlikely to convince sceptical campaigners that the government is genuinely interested in Freedom of Information when applied to itself. Libertarian blogger Guido Fawkes puts it thus:
"Jacqui Smith has (without reference to parliament) given herself the right to read Guido's email without a warrant, yet MPs in contrast are changing the Freedom of Information laws to allow them to obscure our view of their petty fiddles."
David Hencke of the Guardian also publishes a stringent attack on the government's lack of openness.