Denis MacShane was unceremoniously suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party after his expenses claims were referred to the Metropolitan Police. Though his friends in the media downplayed it somewhat, shouldn’t he start telling the truth on his still very active Twitter account? Honesty is the best policy Denis…
Such are their number it is getting difficult for Guido to keep track of all the politicians who are either under investigation, currently facing charges or are actually in the dock as defendants.
It is worth bearing in mind that 52% of MPs in the last parliament were found to be guilty of over-claiming – the vast majority of whom paid-up quietly in an admission of guilt.
Some of the worst cases have finally made it to the courts, former Labour MPs Jim Devine (reported to the police incidentally by the Sunlight Centre), Elliot Morley and David Chaytor are trying to avoid criminal trials and are currently in the Supreme Court arguing that they are above common criminals and should be tried by MPs. Don’t think so…
Sitting Labour MP Eric Isslley is facing charges. Labour MPs confirmed to be under police investigation include Denis MacShane and the former MP Margaret Moran.
Reported to the police we have Sadiq Khan, who has been reported on the exactly the same expense-fiddling grounds as Margaret Moran. Ironically he is a Shadow Justice Minister.
Tory Lord Hanningfield is facing trial but Lords Paul and Bhaita as well as Baroness Uddin have escaped prosecution by promising repayment.
LibDem MP David Laws is awaiting the report of the Committee on Standards and Privileges with regard to him having the taxpayer pay rent to his boyfriend. The Committee has ordered former Labour MP Shahid Malik to repay his claim for the cost of insuring his wife’s diamond ring. No, really.
Bill “Piggy” Wiggin was ordered to apologise and repay £4,009 of expenses for which he claimed but did not actually incur. Shamefully the Old Etonian has been allowed by David Cameron to keep his Whip’s job despite a pre-election promise live on TV to sack Wiggin if he was found to be “claiming money that he wasn’t entitled to”. Change we can believe in… not.
UPDATE : Forgot Tory Lord Taylor of Warwick is pleading not guilty to six charges of dodgy accounting. His bother is over claiming overnight expenses in relation to properties which he didn’t live in. He claimed to the Sunday Times he had lived at his mother’s home in the West Midlands. This turned out to be false as his mother’s house was sold in 2001 when she died. His former wife confirmed that he lived in London, and nowhere else, until their separation in 2003.
See also: Labour’s Dirty Dozen
With invoices being trawled, coppers called and MPs still insisting they have done nothing wrong, it could be June 2009 all over again. With MacShane being referred to the Yard yesterday it has also emerged that Tory whip Bill Wiggin claimed thousands of pounds for costs he “did not actually incur”. Another way of putting that is “fraudulently”. Back in the day Wiggin defended his over zealous expense claims by saying “I think people need to realise we are but human”. Yes, greedy ones. The mind boggles as to how it wasn’t seen fit to pass on his file along with MacShame…
With MacShane and Margaret Moran both being looked into by the cops, the total number of Labour MPs under investigation or facing trial is now at six, but there seems to be some discrepancies in those cases that the Met are picking up. One of the key allegations against Margaret Moran is her dodgy receipts. Amongst various housing decorations she also claimed £130 from her communications allowance for Labour Christmas cards. The claim was rejected and so she resubmitted the invoice calling the cards “Constituency Surgery Cards” and Fees office duly coughed up. A trick that sounds very familiar.
Back in March Guido reported:
“Having had over a grands worth of greeting card receipts rightly rejected from his Communications Allowance claims, Khan then went back to the printers and had them create a new receipt, for the same amount, but without the birthday cards itemised on them.”
Khan’s printer “Public Impact” is run by Labour Party affiliates and he told John Lyon he “couldn’t remember the complaint”. Which is convenient. A report was submitted to Scotland Yard who have, as of yet, not ruled concluded the investigation. Perhaps in the light of their look at Moran, they might like to clamp down on other MPs with equally dodgy receipts…
Three hours after the news about MacShame broke on this blog, how are the Labour blogs dealing with the issue? LabourList – silent. LeftFootForward has nothing on MacShane. LiberalConspiracy still hasn’t mentioned that the cops are onto the leftie attack-dog. Political Scrapbook is still dealing with yesterday’s PMQs. Compare and contrast how Derek Conway was treated by ConservativeHome. They demanded firm action immediately.
The Labour leaning blogosphere’s credibility really suffers at times like this from being reluctant to criticise allies. If you are looking for news and comment about Dennis MacShane, or about the sitting Labour MP Eric Illsley’s forthcoming day in court, the ongoing police investigation into Margaret Moran or the three other former Labour MPs in court on criminal charges there is no point going to left-wing blogs…
UPDATE : Looks like Guido shamed LabourList into publishing something – the official Labour Party press release – 40 minutes after this post went up. No further comment or analysis…
He has had the whip withdrawn by the Parliamentary Labour Party.
Victoria Street is furiously distancing themselves from their once celebrated attack dog…
UPDATE : The Telegraph and their wunder-disk note the suspected fraudster “also submitted more than a dozen invoices to the Parliamentary authorities from the “European Policy Institute”. Each bill was for “research and translation”. The EPI was controlled by his brother, Edmund Matyjaszek.”
Keeping it simple it seems.
UPDATE II : The word “forgery” keeps coming up in conversation with well placed sources. Sky and The Guardian are also claiming the original complaint came from the BNP. Whether or not this is true, it is being pushed hard by the suspected fraudster himself.
UPDATE III : The mysterious European Policy Institute was it seems founded by MacShane in 1992 and he served as its director until 1994. Fancy that. Reminds Guido of Hain’s slush fund the Progressive Polices Forum…
This is what Denis MacShane claimed £125,000 in office costs for:
‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello…
From the Standards and Privileges Committee:
“At its meeting on 12 October, the Committee agreed that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards should report to the Metropolitan Police Service the conduct of the Rt hon Member for Rotherham, Mr Denis MacShane. In accordance with procedures agreed in 2008 between the Committee on Standards and Privileges, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and the Metropolitan Police, the Commissioner’s inquiry into a complaint against Mr MacShane will be suspended until the question of possible criminal proceedings has been resolved.”
UPDATE: Sources have suggested this might have something to do with the £125,000 suspected fraudster MacShane claimed for a garage he said was his constituency office.
UPDATE II: It’s not looking good.
One of the great things about EyeSpy.MP (or the “phantom blogger” as Sir Michael White mistakenly calls it) is that it reveals the truth about MPs actual behaviour. Next time an MP whines about being poorly paid and hard working because of all those late night sittings, ask him what really happens during those sessions? Do they scrupulously scrutinise legislation and make speeches of great oratory?
No they get drunk and gossip. Last night the PLP was getting pissed and occasionally wandering into the lobbies to vote. Here are a selection of EyeSpy.MP tweets from last night:
4 out of 5 Lab leadership contenders on the terrace taking advantage of rare late night sitting to be matey (or trying to be in case of D & E Miliband).
Last night: Balls, Burnham and Ed Miliband in the Kremlin buying pints for down-market North East Labour MPs
Why aye man, it’s Sharon Hodgson pet! Skulling a vat of white wine. Drunk as a skunk.
0130: Tired and emotional Dennis Macshane stinging drinking companions for expensive glasses of Sancerre on the Terrace
0200: Ed Balls the last Labour leadership contender left on the Terrace – still drinking pints with the NE mafia!
Bear in mind some of these MPs will have been drinking subsidised beer since tea-time. In many cases they will be completely drunk when voting and the whips basically roll them into the lobbies. In how many jobs outside the entertainment industry is it acceptable to be completely intoxicated in the workplace? Makes you proud of our great parliamentary democracy doesn’t it…
Which loud mouthed heckler found themselves on the wrong end of the Deputy Speaker Alan Haselhurst late into last night’s late sitting?
“I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman. There are certain right Hon. and Hon. Members who are not serving the dignity of the House particularly well at the present time. At all times we should discuss things in a calm and reasonable manner, particularly, I suggest to the House, a subject of this nature.”
You would think while discussing rape and the sensitive circumstances surrounding it, that Members would be able to contain themselves from jeering and interrupting from the back benches, but given it was a late sitting just before midnight it seems one member may have enjoyed the pre-debate refreshments a little too much. Judge for yourself here (from about 23.15). The increasingly irate Deputy Speaker had to wade in again, this time with more of a warning to the obvious frothing, almost slurring, culprit – Labour’s rent-a-thug Denis MacShane:
“Order. The Right Hon. Member for Rotherham is behaving disgracefully and not assisting a debate of this kind. Now, he really has enough experience of this House, as a Minister and as a Back Bencher, to realise that what he is doing is out of tune with how we should conduct our business in this House. I hope that I will not hear from him again.”
A sentiment Guido agrees with wholly.
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Nigel Farage hits the nail on the head:
“This olive oil ban was virgin on the ridiculous.”
Ned Flanders – Clegg
Lisa Simpson – Natalie Bennett
Milhouse – Hilary Benn
Martin Prince – Andy Burnham
Edna Krabappel – Luciana Berger
Crazy Cat Lady – Glenda jackson
Comic book guy – John Prescott
Carl – Chucka
Lenny – Philip Hammond
Willie – Eric joyce
Poochie – Gordon Brown
Reverend Lovejoy – Tony Blair