Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

British MPs in the Dock

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 6th February, 2010

Three British members of the House of Commons (all Labour) and one Conservative peer are to be charged with offences under the Theft Act, relating to allegations of false accounting for personal gain. They strongly deny the charges and intend to fight cases that are expected to come to court next month. The specifics range from claiming for a mortgage that had already been paid off to falsified invoices for cleaning and other services. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has expressed his anger over the alleged abuses by his three MPs, former Minister Elliot Morley, Jim Devine and David Chaytor, and Lord Hanningfield has had the Tory whip withdrawn in the House of Lords. One must not prejudge the outcome of the trials, nor should one gloat over the fact that there are no Liberal Democrats involved. Scores of other MPs and peers must be breathing a sigh of relief that they have not had criminal charges brought against them, despite being reprimanded and in many cases obliged to return thousands of pounds of allowances. The system that was exposed in last year’s expenses’ scandal was wide open to abuse, and abuse it many parliamentarians did, sometimes with the encouragement of the parliament’s own Fees Office. The charging of the three MPs and Lord Hanningfield will not bring closure to the affair, however. It is a running sore which will fester right into the forthcoming general election campaign.

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One Response to “British MPs in the Dock”

  1. The charging should be exposed before the general election campaign.

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