You have to admire the audacity of these troughers, or is just desperation? The Sunday Herald reveals that
“a handful of Labour MPs are trying to block the police investigation into the possible criminal abuse of Commons expenses, It is understood the group has warned the Metropolitian Police that probes into expenses may breach “parliamentary privilege”, the ancient right that protects proceedings in Parliament, which notably allows freedom of speech in the Commons chamber. A senior Labour source confirmed some MPs have taken legal advice on whether parliamentary privilege extends to expenses, potentially putting them off-limits to the police.”
They are trying to claim that an MP committing fraud is immune from prosecution due to parliamentary privilege. Ridiculous.
Guido’s guess is that the Tory MP (and whip) John Baron’s expenses might benefit from further investigation. His mortgage seems to have gone up as interest rates have gone down. His local paper the Echo reports that a local Tory councillor has resigned in disgust. His home is 35 miles from Westminster.
The LibDems like to posture as morally superior to their parliamentary colleagues on matters of probity. This may be true in the Commons, however in the Lords their peers trough like the best of them. Lord Rennard, the former CEO of the party, is already under investigation for claiming overnight allowances for being away from home, when to all intents and purposes his main home is minutes away from Westminster over the Thames in Vauxhall. Now it transpires that the frontbench health spokeswoman Baroness Barker followed her leader. Just like Rennard she has been living and working in London and claiming the away from home overnight allowance to the tune of £70,000 in expenses from the House of Lords. She is refusing to say where her main residence was when she made the claims. The Sunday Times suggests she has always lived in Merton, not Sussex as she indicated to them. She seems strangely unable to remember her home address…
Elsewhere in somewhat unsurprising news documents reveal Jack Straw tried to conceal expense revelations. Wonder why?
In the Mail the neighbours of Jacqui Smith’s sister feel vindicated that despite her sister’s smears against them they were proved to be telling the truth. A survey of Jacqui Smith’s Redditch constitutents for the Mail reveals that the majority want her to pay back the money, resign and be prosecuted:
Chris Galley of the Sunlight Centre tells the Express he will see Jacqui in Court. You can donate towards making that happen here.
UPDATE : Maybe St Frank ain’t so saintly after all. Trouser press, flat-screen TVs, linen etc. and £1,000 a month in unreceipted expenses. Hmmm…