Sunday, January 03, 2010

‘Our dodgy expense claims are above the law’

I don’t know which is more staggering – the arrogance or the stupidity:

Three Labour MPs being investigated for expenses fraud are arguing that they should not be prosecuted because their suspect claims are covered by parliamentary privilege.
The MPs have hired legal experts to assert that the 1689 Bill of Rights protects them from prosecution.
The lawyers are understood to have sent detailed submissions to police and prosecutors which contend that the House of Commons rule book on expenses is “privileged” and cannot be subject to scrutiny by the courts.

Two members, Elliot Morley and David Chaytor, are being investigated by the Metropolitan police over allegations that they received taxpayers’ money for non-existent mortgages on second homes. … The third MP facing prosecution, Jim Devine, is alleged to have submitted a claim for £2,157 for rewiring his London flat using a receipt bearing a bogus Vat number.

The question of whether the prosecution of the MPs is unlawful revolves around interpretation of article nine of the 1689 Bill of Rights, which states: “Proceedings in parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court.”

1 comment:

John B said...

"stupidity" implies they have either some hope of a future career, or wider principles than 'keeping out of jail at any cost'. I suspect neither of these is the case, in which case the 'keeping out of jail at any cost' strategy isn't a bad one.