Updated: THE Government has backed down over moves to keep politicians’ expenses secret, after York and Selby’s MPs threatened to spearhead a national rebellion.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown was forced into an embarrassing U-turn yesterday, scrapping an attempt to exempt Parliament from the Freedom of Information Act.

A national online campaign had been launched against the moves, and yesterday afternoon York MP Hugh Bayley, usually a staunch party loyalist, met party whips and told them that even he could not support the plans, due to be voted on tonight.

Selby MP John Grogan had already become one of the first Labour MPs to reveal he would rebel, despite the Government imposing a three-line whip ordering Labour MPs not to do so. Shortly after Mr Bayley’s meeting, the Government climbed down. MPs’ expenses can now be published.

Mr Bayley has also tabled an amendment to tonight’s debate, which – if accepted by the Speaker – could pave the way for full details of the so-called John Lewis list to be published, showing details of MPs’ second homes.

Mr Grogan had vowed to rebel and said: “I am pleased that the Government has backed down.”

East Yorkshire’s Conservative MP, Greg Knight, said he would have voted against the Government, as did Vale of York Tory Anne McIntosh and Harrogate and Knaresborough Liberal Democrat Phil Willis.