Saturday 2 January 2010


According to The Times three Labour MPs being investigated for expenses fraud are arguing that they should not be prosecuted because their suspect claims are covered by parliamentary privilege. The MPs have hired legal experts to assert that the 1689 Bill of Rights protects them from prosecution. They contest that the House of Commons rulebook on expenses is “privileged” and cannot be subject to scrutiny by the courts.

So, not only have they “allegedly” stolen money from us, they also think that under some 17th Century law, they are excused from facing the courts because they are above the law. The legal manoeuvre raises the prospect of the case against the MPs being thrown out before it reaches trial or being bogged down for months in legal argument.

Elliot Morley and David Chaytor, are being investigated by police over allegations they received taxpayers’ money for nonexistent mortgages on second homes. Jim Devine is alleged to have submitted a claim for £2,157 for rewiring his London flat using a receipt bearing a bogus VAT number.

Apparently they hope that the tactic will keep the case out of the courts for long enough that it will not be headline news in the run up to the election.

You couldn’t make this up could you? Just how deluded are these people? The issue isn’t the small sums that they and their colleagues fiddled. Even added all together, it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. What matters to us is that people placed by us in a unique position of responsibility and trust have taken money that was ours because they could. And now they are going to say.... “Nah nah nah nah nah... you can’t touch us...we’re special, we’re above the law...”

The MPs’ lawyers have advised them that because of the legal questions hanging over the inquiry, they are within their rights not to co-operate with the police.

WHAT? Now the law states that MPs don’t have to co-operate with the police?

Liberal Democrat MP anti sleaze campaigner, Norman Baker, said: “Parliamentary privilege exists to safeguard democracy not to subvert it. It certainly does not exist to allow MPs to rip off the taxpayer with impunity. Whether or not these MPs have committed a crime, they should not be allowed to subvert the court process with arcane technicalities that threaten further to undermine the standing of parliament.”

Mr Baker is 100% right. This nonsense needs stamping on NOW. MPs in the Duck House Parliament have made the UK a laughing stock all over the world. To try to wriggle out of their responsibilities on the basis of an ancient piece of legislation that puts them above the law is beyond belief. Labour needs to understand that this will do far more harm than good to them in the run up to the election.


  1. Why am I not surprised, they've done their best to remove the rights and privileges of the bill of rights away from the people but strive to use it to protect themselves.

    We need to string a few of them up from lampposts pour encourager les autres.

  2. There aren't enough lamp posts....

    You wonder though that they think that they will save themselves with this nonsense. The law may be with them, but Harry Harperson's Court of Public opinion will have them!

  3. What other archaic tripe will these “people” dig up to get themselves off the hook? I am amazed that Jim Devine is going to try to use a bill of rights from before the Act of Union, one that I presume did not apply to Scottish MPs at that time, to try to excuse his thievery. I don’t know why they don’t ask the House of Lords for a ruling as the senior appellant court in the land (although again the Act of Union makes no provision for that in Scotland were it ought to be the Court of Session) after all the Lords are probably more corrupt and on the fiddle than the commoners.

  4. It may be that Devine's little fiddle was perpetrated in London, and therefore comes under English Law Munguin.

  5. Actually Tim Worstall points out that this could be a very good thing indeed if they win.

    This could get interesting.

  6. Corker QM. If, as I suspect, the Labour Party are behind this, although they say that they are not, they may have to live with the law of unintended consequences. What a pity.

    I disagree with the 4th comment which says that just because one part of the law stands it does not mean that the rest does.... I can't see that... Either the Act is law in your country or it is not. I doubt that even this bunch of comic singers could protest otherwise.

    I'd like to hear Mr Brown's opinion on the subject if he can take a few minutes out from phoning America and saving Yemen.