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…

Flashback: The Foresight of MacShame

Denis was overheard in February 2011:

Friday Caption Contest (Sponger-Cake Edition)


To celebrate Denis MacShane’s demise this week’s caption contest sees the shamed expenses cheat pose with the cake given to him upon his return to the Labour Party just this July.

The winner will receive a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape courtesy of the charitable souls at Oddbins.

Their ‘Wine Not War’ campaign calling for peace between Dave and Nick will donate £1 to War Child for every bottle of CNDP sold.

See what they did there.

The winning entry better be good.

Usual rules apply…

Privileged MacShane Evidence Now Available to the Police
New Police Complaint Made

A source close to the Standards and Privileges Committee pointed out to Guido that the police could not use the evidence gathered by the Committee during their investigation because it was subject to parliamentary privilege. Now that it has been published however it is no longer privileged and can be used by the forces of the law.

Guido has spoken to m’learned counsel and they have confirmed this is the case. He has therefore just put in a new complaint to the Met:

This ain’t over…

“The Gravest Case Which Has Come to Us for Adjudication”

The Standards and Privileges Committee report on Denis MacShane is so damning that Labour HQ have already said his career is over. The report found that MacShane:

  • Claimed nearly £20,000 a year in expenses for an office based in the garage of his South Yorkshire home.
  • Signed claims with a “nom de plume” purporting to come from a General Manager who did not in fact exist.
  • Knowingly submitted nineteen false invoices over a period of four financial years which were plainly intended to deceive the Parliamentary expenses authorities.
  • Claimed thousands of pounds for eight computers that got ‘lost’ or were taken by interns.
  • Claimed £12,900 for invoices from his EPI slush fund. He didn’t provide a single receipt for payments.

Do not pass go. Do not collect £200. Go straight to jail… if there was any justice.

Labour: MacShane’s Career is Over

Labour have been forced to suspend Denis MacShane yet again:

“These are very serious findings concerning Denis MacShane and we accept his statement this morning that his career as a Labour MP is effectively over. In the light of the report’s recommendations to the House the Labour Party has suspended Denis MacShane with immediate effect, pending a full NEC enquiry. We will be talking to Denis MacShane about his future and the best course of action for him and for his constituency.”

If MacShane has one shred of decency left he would resign today.

UPDATE:

Quote of the Day

Standards and Privileges Committee report into Denis MacShane…

“The real mischief of Mr MacShane’s actions was that the method he adopted of submitting false invoices, as the Commissioner said, bypassed the checks and controls the House had instituted in a way which enabled Mr MacShane to spend public money as he thought fit.”

BREAKING: MacShane Facing 12 Month Commons Suspension

Statement from Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP, Chair of the Standards and Privilege Committee:

“The Report states that this was the gravest case which has come to the Committee for adjudication. It sets out the Committee’s views and reasoning clearly, and is accompanied by the detailed memorandum from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, as well as Mr MacShane’s response. I am sure the House of Commons will consider our recommendation as soon as possible. It would not be appropriate for me or any other Member of the Standards and Privileges Committee to comment on the substance of the Report before the House debates the matter.”

Standards and Privilege Committee’s report conclusion:

“We accept that Mr MacShane is widely acknowledged for his interest in European affairs, and the funds he claimed could be said to have been used in supporting that interest. Those activities may have contributed to his Parliamentary work, albeit indirectly. He has expressed his regret, and repaid the money wrongly claimed. But this does not excuse his behaviour in knowingly submitting nineteen false invoices over a period of four financial years which were plainly intended to deceive the Parliamentary expenses authorities. This is so far from what would be acceptable in any walk of life that we recommend that Mr MacShane be suspended from the service of the House for twelve months. This would mean he lost his salary and pension contributions for this period.”

DEVELOPING…

UPDATE: Full background on MacShane’s expenses shame can be found here.

Rent-Swapper MacShame Exposed

The original expenses scandal cost dozens of corrupt MPs their jobs, the worst offenders ended up behind bars. Now the rent-swapping sleaze that John Bercow is trying to cover up has been blown wide open. This morning Guido is listing […]

+ READ MORE +

Jail Dodger MacShame Gloats: Cops In Crisis

Jail-dodging Denis MacShane has some nerve. Next week the shamed expenses cheat will speak at a “Crisis in Policing” debate to mark the launch of the 2013 Orwell Prize. The only crisis in policing is the fact that the phone-hacking […]

+ READ MORE +

MacShame Own Goal

Self-proclaimed Russian expert Denis MacShane has been sticking the boot in to the Conservative Friends of Russia today. There is plenty to attack CFoR for, but Denis was up to his usual trick of stretching the truth:

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Met Police Say MPs Can Claim for Fake Offices

Denis MacShane has had his police investigation dropped. It was triggered in October 2010 after the Parliamentary authorities suspected him of fraud due to the £125,000 in rent that he claimed for a constituency office that turned out to be […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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