Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Boris To Decide MP Prosecutions?

with one comment

Up and down the country Chief Constables have been deluged with complaints about local MPs.  Many constituents believe that their MP’s conduct has gone beyond error and misjudgement to the point where the police need to investigate.  There is huge anger and if Harriet Harman’s “Court Of Public Opinion” gets its way then there is to be much humiliation and many prison sentences for miscreant MPs.

The Man For The Job

The Man For The Job

Chief Constables are accused of sitting on their hands and being in fear of taking on such high profile suspects.  In fact, there is confusion about jurisdiction and about what recourse is open to the public if the police will not take action.

An attempt has already been made to bring a private prosecution against Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.  District Judge Bruce Morgan at Redditch Magistrates Court adjourned the application for a summons and referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police, saying that the applicant could *come back to court” if the Met failed to investigate.

The Association Of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) says that the Met is taking the lead and that jurisdiction for all MPs is likely to be in the Met’s hands as expenses claims are paid out from Parliament and not in the constituencies.

The Met’s current position is still that it’s thinking about it.  It “needs to understand the Parliamentary processes for expenses” as part of its assessment as to whether to launch an investigation.  After its clumsy and inept handling of the Damian Green affair it’s not surprising that discretion should be the better part of its valour but really, it’s a shabby response to what is probably the greatest ever betrayal of public trust.

Perhaps that’s what the problem is.  It all just seems too big, too grand, too important.  In reality, the sordid, self-serving decisions that so many MPs have taken are just as small and pathetic as any shoplifter or petty thief.

What we need here is clarity and courage.  We deserve a police service that can see through the obfuscation, blather and bluff.  If  you look at them in the same way as you would a shoplifter or a petty thief , brush away their pathetic excuses, well, officer, what are you going to do now?

If the police fail to take action, where will the public turn?  The Independent Police Complaints Commission has a very narrow remit.  It can only address questions of police misconduct.  Questions of policy, or the conduct of Chief Constables are a matter for the local police authority and in London, that means the Metropolitan Police Authority, chairman of which is ex-MP, Boris Johnson.  The Association of Police Authorities (APA) is waking up to this fast approaching buck and where it might be stopping.  Let’s hope Boris is too.

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One Response

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  1. I don’t think that the police can take action against the MPs, with the possible exception of a few who are claiming for mortgages that they don’t have!
    The vast majority of the MPs are within the rules and all claims are approved, or rejected, by the officials running the systems. It just won’t be possible to blame the MPs, providing they have been honest with the submitted expenses.
    The Telegraph has not done the country any favours by confusing the public over the expenses claimed.
    Very few MPs will have any problems with their expenses claimed as part of their work.
    The problem is that there is a second pot of money available for the MPs to increase their incomes. They don’t need receipts to claim this money and none of the claims need to be approved as ‘official’ business. They can even claim without providing receipts against this second pot of money. Because it is not the ‘official’ expenses the claims can be for personal items (such as duck houses etc).
    The tax situation is interesting but presumably the government sorted all this out when they introduced the system!
    Except for a few MPs who have broken the rules, everyone else has used the system as the government envisaged they would.
    Cannot see the police being able to do much with them!

    michael

    May 30, 2009 at 10:32 pm


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