Parliamentary Privilege and Criminality

Parliamentary privilege was cited last night by David Grossmann in his Newsnight report as being an obstacle to bringing Denis MacShane to trial, the Labour MP John Mann disagrees:

On Friday Guido was tipped off by a source close to the Standards and Privileges Committee that once they had published their report the way was open for the police to resume their investigations. After consulting a barrister, who was in absolutely no doubt that parliamentary privilege was no longer an obstacle, Guido wrote to Scotland Yard asking them to resume the case – as did the Tory MP Philip Davies.

In 2009 we did the same for Jim Devine who, like Denis MacShane, submitted falsified invoices to back up expense claims. You may recall that David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine went to the Supreme Court to argue that they were protected by parliamentary privilege. They attempted to use the 300-year-old law to argue that any case against them should be dealt with by Parliament rather than the courts. The Supreme Court ruled that expense fiddles were ordinary crimes not covered by parliamentary privilege. Devine was sentenced to 16 months…

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