Friday, 5 February 2010


The Priviliged Three and the Noble Lord Hanningfield

IN THE BUSINESS of Parliamentary Expenses it has been revealed that England’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Kier Starmer, has decided to press forward with charges on Morley, Devine and Chaytor from the Commons, and Hanningfield from the House of Lords, with investigations still ongoing in the case of Uddin (also from the Upper House).

Mr Starmer will, however, have to overcome the ancient doctrine of parliamentary privilege after the three Labour MPs announced they would use it to fight the charges.

A joint statement from the three (who, it is believed are using the Labour Party’s solicitors for the case) indicated that they thought the issue was one for the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards rather than the police and the courts as it would be for ordinary people. They were, they said, extremely disappointed that the DPP had decided to instigate proceedings against them. They pointed out that the Parliamentary Commissioner's job was to enforce the rules.

Of course they are disappointed it hasn’t been left in the hands of the Parliamentary Commissioner. He would have let them off and told them to apologise to the House.

Although it is an ancient doctrine, parliamentary privilege has had a huge role in thwarting recent attempts by the police to investigate alleged wrongdoing by MPs and peers, including the expenses claims of the Tory MP Derek Conway who started the whole expenses saga, and the Cash for Peerages saga. Mr Starmer said: “Lawyers representing those who have been charged have raised with us the question of parliamentary privilege. We have considered that question and concluded that the applicability and extent of any parliamentary privilege claimed should be tested in court.”

You can’t help wonder what world and what century these people are living in.

Quite clearly the DPP wouldn’t have gone forward with such high profile cases unless he could be very sure of his facts. But these three men seem to feel that they are in the same position as the Queen, who cannot be charged with an offence because she is the embodiment of the law.

Of course all three of these low lifes are standing down at the next election... (yes, they are still on the payroll; we are paying them as I write, at £65,000 pa, and they will be entitled to a grant at the end of parliament) so we can’t even punish them at the ballot box.

Hanningfield was suspended from the Parliamentary Conservative Party today and resigned his position as a frontbench business spokesman in the House of Lords. He, to his credit, appears (so far) not to think himself above the law, although he denies any wrong doing. Perhaps if the case is tested in the courts and found for the MPs, Hanningfield’s case will be dismissed anyway.

I hope that Mrs Harman’s famed Court of Public Opinion will be making it very clear to these MPs that we don’t think that they are above the law, and that we want them to stand trial in one of the same kinds of court that all other criminals have to tolerate.

In my opinion they should not be granted bail. They are certainly not to be trusted.


If you are convinced of your innocence and if you have faith in the English justice system (and why wouldn’t you; you who have been sitting for years in the parliament that controls it), then why would you be unhappy about facing the same form of justice that you have foist on the rest of that nation?


  1. Jim Devine's CH4 interview ( now showing at Rantin Rabs) is a shocker.
    Proof that Labour voters will indeed vote for anyone with a red rosette stuck on them. And it reveals the true scale of the problem facing the UK and why we're in such a desperate state. The NHS and unions were just the same explained Jim. Shuffle money around willy nilly until everybody was paid. Sorted.

  2. My God did you see Jim on STV news? Only been an MP since 2005? Clearly making up for lost time then, fat, blotchy, beery, repulsive are only some of the words that come to mind. What's he gonna do next I wonder?

  3. Thanks very much Anon. Everybody ought to see that interview:

    I wonder if Mr Devine has ever heard the adage about being in a hole and stopping digging? He not only seems to have admitted fraud as an MP but as a trade unionist and indeed in every walk of his adult life. What a shame Mr Madoff had not employed that naive moving money around defence, no need for him to have gone to jail for 150 years then!

  4. Actually what's needed is a total suspension of parliament and a new government elected from those who haven't ever been elected before.
    Yes it would lack experience, but it would be fresh and untainted by the past.

  5. I'm going to watch that video now. Thanks Anon

  6. Yes Munguin: I'd have got rid of my spade. He could easily have refused to go on tv and be grilled by Christian Guru Murthy, who is a real tough interviewer and one of our best.

    He seems to have been a wee cheat no matter where he worked.

    Some things that struck me were that:

    He's going to have to name the Whip

    He should get a dictionary and check the meaning of the word fraud

    For a legislator he has a fairly loose understanding of what the law is

    I could say to him that the experts in law are in the courts, not the Commons

    BUT, in fairness, he has a point. Some of his colleagues have managed to get away with MASSIVE fraud and their only punishment has been to stand up in front of the rest of the fraudsters and say "I'm sorry chaps". I'd have had all of them in a court, even if I had to solve the unemployment problems of England taking on the staff to deal with it.

    Thanks again for the heads up about the video Anon.

  7. QM: I think now that the extent of the fraud has been shown, over half the MPs have some fraud attached to them, you are right.

    The motion is that these nations have no confidence in their parliament and that it be prorogued.

    What an appropriate word for our parliament... PRO-ROGUE. It certainly is.

    I think that most people who think about these things (as opposed to think about whether Peter Andre is in fact gutted that Jordan has married that bloke) now have no way of holding the parliament and most of its members in anything but utter contempt.

  8. PS. I beg Mr Guru Murthy's pardon. His first name is Krishnan, not Christian.

  9. Clearly the devine Jim and his colleagues are the scapegoats. I guess they think that by throwing them to the lions the spectre at this feast will go away. I would have betted that devine and friends would get off with a very sore trotter, but after his performance on Channel 4 I’m not so sure. How is it possible to fall into a trap that has not been set and is 50 miles away? Poor Krishnan he did his best to prevent the right honourable making a fool of himself by simply putting what he said in logical order. Logic is a swine sometimes!

  10. Have you guys read Jim Divine's comments to the Herald today? They explain poor wee Jims pleas about the explainability of all the charges against him.

    Can he explain reasonably submitting false invoices to the fees office? I really need to hear that one!

    I'll get the popcorn ready for his day in court! Somelse can bring the squishy!

  11. I've just read the Herald there Dean. It's utterly pathetic. The most worrying thing is that this is an MP....

    Court will be fun as he stutters and sputters inarticulately through a pathetic excuse that, unlike the rest of us charged with theft, he should be judged by his workmates, and not by the law.

    The squishy's on me mate!