Friday, 12 March 2010


How embarrassing for Gordon Brown and David Cameron. Three Labour MPs and a Conservative lord yesterday pled not guilty to fraud, and insisted that English Courts should not try them as they were parliamentarians.

Morley, Chaytor, Devine and Hanningfield said the charges against them should be heard by parliamentary authorities (which, as we all know, let MPs off with most stuff, and Lords off with everything).

They insisted that they were protected from criminal prosecution by parliamentary privilege citing the English Bill of Rights of 1689.

The MPs asked to be spared the humiliation of being forced to stand in the dock of the court like the rest of the criminal fraternity because they were something special. Much to his credit the magistrate denied the request.

The barrister for the MPs trotted out some nonsense about his clients of course not feeling that they were above the law, insisting that parliamentary privilege is a part of the law and had been since 1689. He did not think that his clients should not stand trial, but (and I admit, I paraphrase) not in the kind of court that was suitable for ordinary people.

Hanningfield, in a separate case, pled not guilty to charges relating to his allowance claims. His barrister said he would also challenge the jurisdiction of the court. He too apparently feels that what is right for ordinary people wouldn’t suit him too terribly well.

Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, had the men charged with false accounting. When they indicated that ordinary people’s courts did not have the right to try the likes of them Mr Starmer replied that prosecutors had decided that the matter should be tested in court.

Interestingly when Princess Anne was charged in court (albeit with far less serious charges) no similar claim for superiority was made.

The charges, according to The Times, are as follows:

Morley, MP for Scunthorpe, faces three charges alleging that he claimed £30,428 more than he was entitled to in second home expenses between 2004 and 2007.

Chaytor, MP for Bury North, also faces three charges. He is accused of fraudulently claiming £18,425 in second home allowances and of using a false invoice to claim £1,950 in IT services.

Devine, MP for Livingston, faces two charges alleging that he claimed £3,240 for cleaning services and £5,505 for stationery using false invoices in 2008 and 2009.

Hanningfield faces six charges of false accounting, relating to 13 claims of between £154.50 and £174 for overnight allowances between 2006 and 2009.

In a separate case it was announced today that Uddin had got away with what had been alleged as fruadulent claims for housing allowances. In what some will see as a complete travesty of justice the case against Mrs Uddin was thrown out because of a recent ruling by the Lords authorities which decided that peers could nominate a property as their "main" home even if they only "visit" it once a month.

Given the generosity of overnight expenses this has cleared as legal the practice of nominating a main home out of London, as long as a visit for a few minutes can be arranged once a month. Nice little earner.

No wonder these people want to be tried by parliament. We’d probably end up paying them compensation and they would all be made Privy Councilors and be given knighthoods and a slap up dinner at Buckingham Palace.


Picture, from The Times, shows Elliot Morley (second left), David Chaytor (second right) and Jim Devine (right) arriving at court with their lawyers.


  1. It cannae be done tris, cannae be done. The only reform worth daein' tae that place wid be wi' six kegs o' gunpowder an' a tinderbox.

    There comes a time when ye just have tae walk away.

  2. That's what I want to do Sophia.

    An independent Scotland would have no need of these pilferers and toffs.

    They used to tell us it was a house of experts who could scrutinise the laws and take any anomalies out...

    Well UK laws seem to be full of holes, and Scottish laws seem to manage perfectly well without all this so-called expertise. .....

    Don’t you think?

  3. Once again tho, ah have tae admit tae feelin' a wee bit uncomfortable.


    That's better, see thae thongs? They're no designed fer auld wummin ah'll tell ye.

    Ah still feel a bit iffy tho aboot pickin' oan three, admittedly choice, specimens oot o' the dozens, mibbe even hundreds o' prize crooks in that stinkin' pile oan the Thames. Ah think the high-heid yins had a look roon' the hoose and said "You three, you look the maist glaikit, get yer coats!"

    An' whit gets me angry is that louse Moron, gettin' away wi' dry rot in her Hampshire an' a rose the size o' Hampshire in her hair!! Doubleplusungood.

    Ye could list oaf an airmfu' yersel' tris ah'm sure. Tae single oot three an' have a show-trial, well ah'm no playin' their game.

    The British form of state, with its unwritten constitution, and its gentleman's agreements, depends on trust. When that trust is broken (and the current Parliament, individually, collectively, and institutionally have smashed that trust to pieces) with it falls the Palace of Westminster.

    To Hell with the lot of them.

  4. Thieves clutching at straws? Reform is desperately needed when people like Jim Devine think that they are better than the rest of us to such an extent that they can employ an ancient statute (that never even applied to Scotland) that was intended to protect parliamentarians from an arbitrary king after they got shot of James II and asked William and Mary to become joint sovereigns. The idea was that there would be a list of what was expected from a constitutional monarchy. I am sure that thievery was not intended.

  5. Well, I am inclined to agree Sophia.

    I highlighted a few in the blog... including many in the Upper House whom, it seemed to me were absolute certs for the court and the pokey.

    The Viscount who used his wife's friend's house, one he'd never even visited, as his main home; the lovely Lord Paul who said that he lived in a cupboard in his hotel; the unlovely ex-home secretary who similarly lived in the coal bunker in her sister's kitchen; a peer who gave an address that he didn't live in, and had never lived in, owned by a friend's partner, and without that partner's permission....

    The list goes on and on... I seem to remember...

    They should all be done, but it seems that they have watertight cases, and are to ge away with it.

    I guess you are right. Gunpowder is the only answer.

    Och well, it's time I was having something to eat....

    Hope thay thongs arnae ower muckle bather tae ye. Ye cud aye tre bloomers?

  6. Munguin:

    As Sophia points out all this unwritten garbage that they can turn to their advantage when ever they like is a part of the problem.

    This is why you can have the likes of Mr Goldfinger being manipulated by a corrupt prime minister, and his even more corrupt assitants.... et puis voilà... a war you never thought you could have.

    Making bottom feeders like Devine and his crew above the law because of the law you so expertly explained (carefully handled by the Labour Party's own very expensive solicitors, we note) is a piece of cake compared with illegally slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis so that the Americans could control their oil.

    Btw, do you get he feeling that we are paying for all this defence.....?

  7. Ah'm no sayin' the Holyrood Hoose is perfect. Ah'm sure it has its faults. But the tone was set by Big Henry McLeish and Big David McLetchie. Efter that ye wid get the message, nae fiddlin' here.

    Ah hope that's how it is. But mair than that, it feels mair accessible, closer, mair familiar than Westminster. The language an' customs o' that place distance it fae us, nivver mind the 500 miles.

    Ah've often wondered if we wid have an Upper Hoose efter we get Independence. Mibbe, like a senate, wi' mibbe two dozen auld folk like Margo or wee Davey Steel, daein' whitever scrutinising wis needed. But then, a lot o' countries get by wi' just one hoose, so it's no a neccesity.

    Ah don't know, lotsae questions.

  8. Yep... loads of interesting questions ...exciting questions... for Scots to sort out for themselves.

    Of course you're right again about the parliament. In Edinburgh there are human beings talking about stuff that matters to us, and in language and with customs which are suitable to the 21st century.

    In London there are strange people who are above the law using daft customs, using strange titles, in a privileged royal palace... and it means nothing to me... particularly as about 75% of what they discuss doesn’t have anything to do with our country.

    Freedom’s coming, I know it is.

  9. Can't help feeling that these are the sacrificial lambs offered up to appease the public and no doubt suitable directorships will have been promised. In the meantime the real crooks carry on "governing" the UK from their duplicate abodes or earning loadsamoney by reading speeches written by some-one else.

  10. Incidentally, the guy as the front looks as if he's borrowed Foulkes' tongue.

  11. I dunno Brownlie.... I can't help thinking Joe Public's getting pretty annoyed at Baronesses who have quite clearly broken the law but because some nob in the House of Lords changes the rules she gets away with it.....

    ......And wee nyaffs who consider themselves too important to be in the dock, and don't recognise the rights of the courts to try them based on a law from the time of William and Mary and before the days of the United Kindumb.

    I'm not sure that they will be allowed to get away with it....

    ....or am I dreaming with my eyes wide open?

    BTW I see that Brown is being very subdued about his support from Bloody Awful... otherwise known as British Airways.

    It's a bit difficult when he so much depends on money from Unite.

    I wonder what Mr Hardman has to say about it all...

    Oh what a laugh they are.....

  12. He he...

    I bet he was wondering if he could walk a bit faster so no one would know he was with the crooks. Oh sorry, I meant to say of course "alleged crooks", didn't I?