Sorry to bang on about this again......



But I,m going to. {and I'm not THAT sorry really}

Hullo ma wee blog,

This is a video clip from Channel 4 news where one of our Scots MP's is interviewed on air about the fact that police are investigating possible fraudulent expense claims.

{ Having some recent personal experience of 'fraudulent' expense claims, it kind of grabs my interest}

Jim Devin is a former psychiatric nurse and election agent for MP Robin Cook until his sudden death in 2005, after which he took over the seat

THE CHARGES:

July 2008 - April 2009: Allegedly dishonestly claimed £3,240 for cleaning services using false invoices
March 2009 - Allegedly dishonestly claimed £5,505 for stationery using false invoices

He has been barred by Labour from standing again in connection with other expense claims not connected to these charges, which cannot be reported for legal reasons.

What really grabs me here is the missed point from both parties that 'if' there is the ability to move money from one budget to another, there is certainly an open and above board fiscal process to do this which does not generate a 'receipt' which can then be used to claim back money through expenses. If this is the case, why is that process not being followed? If money which has been claimed on expenses was then physically paid in to another budget there should be a clear audit trail to support this.

State this simple thing, and your ability to support your garbled claim that you did not personally profit from the episode with evidence Mr Devine, and you will immediately come out from the stone you appear to be hiding under and into the light of transparency.

BUT.....

I am struck by the honourable members complete lack of ability to argue his case cogently and how he does not take the opportunity presented to explain reasonably what did happen to the money claimed. To defend himself with 'another MP who I am not going to name told me it was ok' is completely ridiculous, and frankly comes over as naive and childishly suspicious.

He is one of four MPs who are being investigated.

LABOUR MP DAVID CHAYTOR MP for Bury North since 1997

THE CHARGES:

May 2006: Allegedly dishonestly claimed £1,950 for computer services using false invoices
Sept 2005 - Sept 2006: Allegedly dishonestly claimed £12,925 for rent on London property when he was the owner
Sept 2007 - Jan 2008: Allegedly dishonestly claimed £5,425 for renting house in Bury from his mother

Allegedly used daughter as bogus landlady and claimed almost £13,000 expenses in rent on London flat he already owned
Swapped his second home four times in less than three years. Allegedly claimed £5,400 while renting house in August 2007, which belonged to his mother. Not obvious as she'd remarried.


LABOUR MP ELLIOT MORLEY Former agriculture minister, MP for Scunthorpe for 23 years.

THE CHARGES:
April 2004-Feb 2006: Allegedly dishonestly claimed mortgage expenses of £14,428 on Lincolnshire home. March 2006 - Nov 2007: Allegedly dishonestly claimed mortgage expenses of £16,000 on the same house when loan no longer existed. Claimed mortgage interest on constituency home for 21 months after loan repaid. Apologised and said he had repaid the money as soon as he realised his 'mistake'. Said he felt 'terrible' and admitted he should have kept a 'tighter rein'.

Barred by Labour from standing again.

TORY LORD HANNINGFIELD Former pig farmer, leader of Essex County Council and Tory business spokesman in the Lords.
THE CHARGES:
March 2006 - May 2009: Allegedly dishonestly submitted claims for expenses to which he knew he was not entitled. £117,000 claimed for overnight expenses since 2001.
Six charges in total, which focus on numerous claims for overnight expenses for staying in London when he was allegedly driven home in his local authority paid chauffeur driven limo to Chelmsford 46 miles away.

The MP's are also preparing a defence case based on the 1689 'Bill of rights' which defines parliamentary privileges.

This legal dodge by the accused MPs of trying to use this Act of Parliament is disgraceful.
This law has been used down the centuries to safeguard our liberties and to ensure that parliament could operate free from interference from the crown.
{When James II inherited the crown from his brother Charles II, he attempted to overrule parliament by suspending laws and overturning decisions to try and impose catholic supremacy on a protestant nation. After James' exile to France, William of Orange had to agree to sign the Bill of Rights which upheld the primacy of Parliament over the King.}

It basically ended rule by 'the divine right' of kingship in Britain.

Now the MPs facing criminal charges for fiddling their expenses feel they should be able to claim Parliamentary privilege. They are saying that prosecuting them for fraud or theft would be to interfere in the workings of Parliament. They are claiming to have done nothing wrong.

Of course they are innocent until proven guilty. But if they have done nothing wrong why should they be afraid of being judged on the same legal basis as the rest of us?

And, as the eighteenth century lawyer Sir Thomas Fuller declared: "Be you never so high, the law is above you."

Hopefully, that is........


see you later.

listening to Mott the Hoople 'Roll away the Stone'

Comments

Big Swifty said…
I would like to think our society will benefit from this big shake up, with the next generation of politicians properly paid, benefits scrapped and expenses clearly set out and justified. This is what I should have said to Bernard Jenkin last night - see my blog today!

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