Thursday, 19 November 2009


At last! It seems that the police have decided to pass their files on 3 noble Lords and 3 honourable members to the Crown Prosecution Service, the English equivalent of the Procurator Fiscal. It is expected that a decision on whether to prosecute or not will be made by England’s top prosecutor, Keir Starmer in January, well in advance of the General Election.

The three peers are: Lord Clark of Hampstead, a former Labour Party chairman, who apparently has admitted a “terrible mistake” by claiming overnight expenses when he was in fact going home, or staying with friends (How can you make a mistake over that; didn’t he know where he was staying?); Lady Uddin, who lived in London but claimed that her main home was an unfurnished flat in Maidstone, thus netting over £100,000; and Lord Hanningfield, who also managed to claim £100,000 for overnight stays, when in fact he went home to Essex in a chauffeur driven car provided by the taxpayer, in his role as chairman of Essex County Council. How confused must he have been after a hard day’s work in the bar, sorry, I mean the Lords?

The honourable members are: Elliot Morley, who claimed for a mortgage he didn’t have; David Chaytor, who did the same; and our own Jim Devine, of dubious shelves and even more dubious rewiring fame.

Police appear to have ruled out taking any action over flipping of houses, or avoidance of Capital Gains Tax, which seems incredibly generous of them, given that millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money was lost. It seems, however, that the Inland Revenue is looking into 27 (only 27?) claims for items not considered to be vital in the carrying out of parliamentary duties, with a view to charging 40% tax on their value. One can only imagine that this must include the duck house and the moat cleaning, not to mention the bath plug. I’m sure small businessmen will be delighted at this new, much more generous regime over small matters of tax irregularities.

It is good to hear that some investigations are being carried out, but bad to hear that there are so few. It was also disappointing to hear that no legislation would be introduced to deal with MPs’ expenses in the parliamentary year to come. I would have thought that, given the shortness of legislative time, the importance to the reputation, both here and abroad, of the so-called mother of parliaments, and the public’s obvious fury, Brown might have thought it prudent to include this in yesterday’s speech. New MPs in a new parliament in June of 2010 must start with a clean slate and a new system that we can have some faith in. What do you think are the chances of that?
Update: According to the BBC's World at One, Christopher Kelly has put pressure on the Prime Minister to ensure that legislation is introduced to enact the recommendations in his report. In one of their swiftest U-turns yet, Downing Street seems to have agreed that this may well be done. I wonder!


  1. Tris, I can't believe they'll bring any legislation for this. It's the fag-end of this government, labour know they're out and all they're now interested in is making sure they can trough as much as possible when they're in opposition.

    If they were serious then surely a sentence about it would have been in the Queen's speech.

    Poor Queenie, as you said in your last post, what a waste of time having an 80+year old woman even get out of bed to read that propaganda.

  2. Tris..

    I think after the election more prosecutions might come forward. Elliot Morley has to go behind bars. This guy claimed for a mortgage that he never even had.

    I think this is just the start and the police dont want to give the game away yet.

  3. It seems that Kelly, unlike Calman, is just not going to roll over and die on this one. Good for him!

    But all in vain I fear. He may have shamed the Cyclops into saying he will take action, but that is, as we all know, a long way from actual action. Stall, delay, bluster and fudge are the watch words of the day.

  4. And don't think that the nasty party will feel any differently either.

  5. Yes. I think you're right Subrosa. This was a party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour Party, starring the Queen. I'm just surprised that they didn't include it, whilst having no intention of get anything through.

  6. Spook, you could be right. Remember Chaytor did the same thing as Morley.

    One of the things that struck me was that from Cabinet Ministers down to the ordinary shop floor MP they all seemed to make "mistakes" and "oversights" in the conduct of their personal affairs. Or so they said.

    If they didn't make mistakes then they are a pile of thieves and we don't want them as MPs, and if they did make mistakes, they are a pile of incompetent idiots who couldn't run a boozse up in a brewery, and we don't want them as MPs.

    I think the Queen should have ended yesterday's speech with a few words of her own... like "We found this speech to be such a load of utter drivel that we hereby prorogue parliament as of now."

    I hope that instead of passing time in her Majesty's House of Commons, at least some of these miscreants will next find themselves spending time in one of Her Majesty's Prisons.

  7. Munguin.

    You're right. Calman appears to be a bit of a wimp, allowing the government to put his propsals on a back burner. Kelly, on the other hand is a much more formidable opponent, and we see Brown folding his tent immediately. Shows the stuff he's made of, huh?

    The Tories have already said that no change in constitutional arrangements will be possible for the first 5 years of a Conservative Government, while they sort out the mess left to them but this set of wallies. All very well, but a cover up I suspect, as I'm sure that they will be in a hurry to introduce other non-essentials like repealing the ban of fox hunting in England and Wales for example.