30/07/2010

Former Politicans Lose Appeals Over Expenses

Three former Labour MPs and an ex-Tory peer have lost appeals over a ruling that they are not protected by Parliamentary priviliege from prosecution over allegations of expenses fraud.

Judges at the Court of Appeal rejected the challenges by Elliott Morley, former MP for Scunthorpe, David Chaytor, former MP for Bury North, Jim Devine, former Livingston MP and Lord Hanningfield, the former leader of Essex County Council.

The men, who all deny charges of false accounting over their expenses, had argued that their case should be heard by Parliament alone.

They were appealing against the ruling made by Mr Justice Saunders at Southwark Crown Court in June. However, the ruling was upheld by Lord Chief Justice, Lord judge, sitting with Lord Neuberger and Sir Anthony May.

The four men, who are all on unconditional bail, are now facing separate criminal trials, but they could take their challenge to the Supreme Court.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment.

(KMcA)

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