Now we know the government's serious about opening up government data and improving web access, The UK government has gone straight to the top man and asked web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee to improve access to government data. His remit will include the thorny topic of MPs' expenses.

Sir Tim is to head a review aimed at improving access to official information, in particular, he will be looking to create a single point of access for government held public data.

In a speech, Brown said: "So that government information is accessible and useful for the widest possible group of people, I have asked Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who led the creation of the world-wide web, to help us drive the opening up of access to Government data in the web over the coming months."

He added: "All MPs' past and future expenses should and will be published on the internet in the next few days. Second home claims submitted by MPs from all sides of the House over the last four years must be scrutinised by the independently led panel. This will ensure repayment where it is necessary, and lead to discipline, where there have been inappropriate claims."

 MPs' expenses may be the ultimate challenge for Sir Tim. Last week, in an interview with New Scientist magazine, he claimed that he no longer fully understood how the web worked. "The web is very complicated too and, though we built it, we have no real data about the stability of the emergent systems that have cropped up on it," he said, Getting to grips with the arcane regulations and claim procedures of MPs may prove to be the ultimate challenge.