Chaytor appeal – rejected!

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, has announced the rejection of David Chaytor’s appeal.

Announcing the decision, Lord Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Henriques and Mr Justice Foskett, said:

“This was a grave breach of trust and there was a further aggravating feature of this case. It is difficult to exaggerate the levels of public concern at the revelation of significant abuse of the expenses system by some Members of Parliament.

Some elected representatives, vested with the responsibility for making the laws which govern us all, betrayed the public trust, There was incredulous consequent public shock. The result was serious damage to the reputation of Parliament, with correspondingly reduced confidence in our priceless democratic system and the processes by which it is implemented and we are governed. This element of damage caused by the appellant and others cannot be valued in monetary terms, but it is nonetheless real, and the impact of what has been done will not dissipate rapidly.

Lord Judge

Lord Judge

This sad fall from grace was entirely self-inflicted, difficult to exaggerate the levels of public concern at the revelation of significant abuse of the expenses system by some Members of Parliament.

As a Member of Parliament, the appellant was entitled, within prescribed rules, to claim for expenses incurred by him in the course of fulfilling the responsibilities of his office.

The rules are set out in a document known as the Green Book, published by the House of Commons Department of Resources, which was also responsible for the administration of the expenses claims system.

Until what became known as the “expenses scandal”, it was an essential feature of the operation of the scheme that Members of Parliament were invariably treated as honest, trustworthy people and the unwritten assumption was that only claims for expenses genuinely incurred in accordance with the rules would be made.”

He went on to say, “Chaytor had been guilty of serious dishonesty”.

The judge also said: “He has publicly admitted his dishonesty and his humiliation is complete.”

Jailed Chaytor appeals his 18 month sentence!!!

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Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) – Latest MP Expenses Published Today!

The, much loathed by MPs, Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has today updated their Website to include latest details of parliamentarians claims.

Citizens throughout the country will be able to see what has been going on. No small wonder then that MPs are still angry, perhaps they have realised that the ‘Spanish practises’ of yesteryear are over!

What exactly is wrong with demonstrating that you have actually expended the money before getting reimbursement, especially in the light of recent cases involving, David Chaytor, Eric Illsley, Lord Taylor and the ongoing case of Jim Devine, demonstrates in spades, why the new system was needed. Have they forgotten already? We haven’t!

We also remain convinced that there is still ‘unfinished business’ yet to be exposed and dealt with! Dealing with it properly is the only way to restore trust in politicians, not more cover ups!

IPSA Home Page, IPSA Publications Page, IPSA Search Here for your MP.

For Rotherham readers, their MPs are: Rother Valley, Kevin Barron (Labour); Rotherham, Denis MacShane** (Independent); Wentworth & Dearne, John Healey (Labour).

Note ** Denis MacShane, Rotherham’s MP, now sitting as an Independent, was suspended from the Labour Party last October, when it was revealed that he had been referred to the Met Police for investigation for as yet undisclosed irregularities in his expenses claims. Previously it has been suggested that Laptop purchases and payments for translation services were said to be involved amongst other issues. News of progress of this little bit of ‘unfinished business’ is awaited shortly from the Metropolitan Police or Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Denis is also a leading critic of IPSA, embarrassingly so at times! Start here for detailed previous coverage.

Labour MPs were selected and approved after Gordon Brown promised, that all Labour candidates had been thoroughly vetted, were honest and could be trusted in May. Only for Labour to be disown them soon afterwards when information, already known to the Labour Party, became public.

One rotten apple getting through may be considered unfortunate but two, both from South Yorkshire! We are left with the inevitable conclusion that Labour’s attempt at clearing out the rotten apples from amongst themselves did not work! At least not in the Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Labour Party! Red faces all round, from Director down I shouldn’t wonder! How can they have done such a poor job of weeding out those who should most certainly not have represented Labour in May 2010? Remember they already knew about Eric and Denis yet they still let them stand, Why? When their exposure was inevitable! It beggars belief!

We can also conclude, that there will be others yet to be exposed, in addition to Eric Illsley and Denis MacShane. We gather that those MPs with the most to fear, are those who habitually provided less than complete sets of receipts.

Breaking News! MacShane File Passed to Prosecutors?

Greedy Pig MacShane. Picture thanks to Guido

I can report to readers a breaking news story said to relate to Rotherham’s own greedy piggy of an MP, Denis MacShane.

After an investigation by the Metropolitan Police a file has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for their consideration.

This is the ninth file passed to the CPS. Of the other eight, six have resulted in prosecutions still going through the Courts system and two were not proceeded with.

This will now be considered by the special team, set up last year to consider political expenses cases, by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer and Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.

Former Labour MPs David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine have been charged with theft by false accounting. earlier this year. David Chaytor now faces jail after he pleaded guilty to stealing more than £20,000 at the Old Bailey last Friday. He will be sentenced in the new year.

Former Tory Essex County Council leader Lord Hanningfield, also known as Paul White, faces six charges of making dishonest claims for allowances. former Tory peer Lord Taylor, full name John David Beckett Taylor, is to face six charges of false accounting.

Eric Illsley, the sitting former Labour MP for Barnsley Central, now sitting as an Independent (as is MacShane), is currently suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party and is awaiting trial and is accused of dishonestly claiming more than £20,000.

In March, Labour peer Lady Uddin was told she will not face prosecution over expenses for a flat in Kent which was apparently not occupied for long periods.

Lord Clarke of Hampstead is the second person to be told they will face no further action.

The small number of cases still under investigation by police are believed to include former Labour MP Margaret Moran, former Labour MP Harry Cohen and Labour Independent MP Denis MacShane.

Who says Christmas only comes once a year! Celebrate!

See also:

News from the Courts 1 – Greedy Pig, Chaytor Pleads Guilty! Aitken Moment?

Labour’s Greedy Pigs, David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine – Still Fighting Justice!

Supreme Court Judgement – David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine. No Parliamentary Privilege! Crown Court Looms!

Reading the Runes? or would that be Runiczny?

Democratic Outrage! Was there a ‘conspiracy of silence’ that concealed the full truth about ‘Dissembling’ Denis from the Voters of Rotherham?

Rotherham Hangs It’s Head in (Mac)Shame! Denis MacShane – Metropolitan Police Investigation! Suspended from Labour Party! More links of interest at end of this post.

News from the Courts 1 – Greedy Pig, Chaytor Pleads Guilty! Aitken Moment?

The Courts are a bit like buses, nothing for a while then several come along at once!

The surprise move by David Chaytor to suddenly change his plea to guilty has a historical precedent!

Jonathan Aitken was faced with the same dilemma when he realised that to proceed with his defence would put his daughter at risk of prosecution for a number of criminal offences.

David Chaytor has taken the same way out as Aitken and many others have done before him. The crimes of his daughter, ought not to be expunged by the  father avoiding cross-examination by pleading guilty at the last minute.

Investigations should be completed into his daughters role in this and she should be brought to justice too if she was up to no good!

What will happen next with the cases of Labour’s Greedy Pigs, Elliot Morley, Jim Devine, Eric Illsley and the Tory greedy pig, Lord Hanningfield has yet to be established as they are still wriggling and squealing! Or for that matter, the current police investigation into Denis MacShane and others or the ongoing parliamentary investigations yet to complete. Plenty more to come!

Labour's Greedy Pigs, David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine – Still Fighting Justice!

Previous Story:

Supreme Court Judgement – David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine. No Parliamentary Privilege! Crown Court Looms!

The Supreme Court Judgement has been made public and can be downloaded as a pdf Here.

Guido reports today that they are still as he puts it, Piggies Squealing, Still Trying to Avoid Justice.

They are apparently exercising some of the outer reaches of  the law and are now claiming that they cannot get a fair trial because of all the publicity!

Some hope! I am not a lawyer but I cannot see this avenue being ultimately profitable. Otherwise no notorious criminal could be tried because it would be unfair? Peter Sutcliffe comes to mind.

Interestingly, the QC’s were all instructed by Steel & Shamash Solicitors, the Labour Party official solicitors. Are the Labour Party still paying the bill? We should be told!

Supreme Court Judgement – David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine. No Parliamentary Privilege! Crown Court Looms!

The Supreme Court has today announced it’s ruling on the application by Former Bury North MP David Chaytor, 61, of Todmorden, West Yorkshire, ex-Scunthorpe MP Elliot Morley, 58, of Winterton, North Lincolnshire and Jim Devine, 57, of Bathgate, West Lothian, formerly MP for Livingston, That the expenses system was part of the proceedings of parliament and therefore covered by parliamentary privilege.

Piggies, thanks to Guido Fawkes.

The Court has ruled that parliamentary privilege does not apply in these cases and have removed the last legal obstacle to their Crown Court trials.

The three are on unconditional bail and due to face separate trials to take place at Southwark Crown Court. Chaytor, Devine and Morley deny these charges.

Elliot Morley’s trial is due to commence on November 22, 2010. At Southwark Crown Court.

Elliot Morley is accused of ‘falsely claiming a furnishing allowance’ after claiming more than £30,000 expenses for a mortgage he had already paid.

He claimed £16,000 at £800 a month in mortgage interest between March 2006 and November 2007.

A second charge alleges that between April 2004 and February 2006 Morley made a further false mortgage interest claim.

Again he is accused of claiming £800 a month, a total overpayment of £14,428.67.

David Chaytor’s, trial is due to commence on December 6, 2010. At Southwark Crown Court.

David Chaytor faces  three counts of false accounting.

The first charge alleges that, in May 2006, he dishonestly claimed £1,950 for IT services by using false invoices.

The second charge alleges that, between September 2005 and September 2006, he dishonestly claimed £12,925, for renting a property in Regency Street, London, when he was in fact the owner of the property.

The third charge alleges that, between September 2007 and January 2008, the MP dishonestly claimed £5,425 for renting a property in Bury from his mother.

Jim Devine’s trial is due to commence on , 2 February 2011. At Southwark Crown Court.

Jim Devine is accused of falsely claiming expenses in March 2009 after submitting two misleading invoices for printing services worth £5,505.

Also charged with dishonestly claiming allowances for repair, insurance or security between July 2008 and May 2009 by submitting false invoices for services, cleaning and maintenance of £3,240.

I repeat the above statement, that all three involved deny the charges.

Guido Fawkes has reported that there have been reporting restrictions imposed without the public having been aware of them. We only know now, because they have been lifted. This lifting of reporting restrictions was vigorously opposed by all three ex-parliamentarians, but they lost on this issue.

This raises questions as to whether there are similar reporting restrictions being used in the other cases of Labour’s unfinished dirty business. Eric Illsley,  has started the judicial process and Denis MacShane has been referred to the police for investigation. There has been a dearth of information coming out into the public realm at the moment, I wonder why?

See also:

Disgraced Parliamentarians, Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield, to face Trial! – case not privileged! Appeal Court gives judgement.

Disgraced Parliamentarians, Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield, to face Trial! – case not privileged! Appeal Court gives judgement.

In a landmark ruling today, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting together with Lord Neuberger and Sir Anthony May, have rejected their appeals against Mr Justice Saunders previous ruling at Southwark Crown Court in June, that the parliamentary expenses system was not covered by parliamentary privilege.

Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield argued at the Court of Appeal that Parliament should hear their case.

When handing down the Appeal Court’s judgement,  Lord Judge said:

“The stark reality is that the defendants are alleged to have taken advantage of the allowances scheme designed to enable them to perform their important public duties as Members of Parliament to commit crimes of dishonesty to which parliamentary immunity or privilege does not, has never, and, we believe, never would attach.”

Pretty conclusive from the Appeal Court Judges then, they are however likely to appeal this to the Supreme Court supported as they are by legal aid, they will not bear the cost, we will! Outrageous!

Elliot Morley, the former MP for Scunthorpe, David Chaytor, formerly MP for Bury North and ex-Livingston MP Jim Devine were barred from standing at the general election by the Labour Party after the allegations surfaced and Lord Hanningfield, has been suspended by the Tory Party.

All four face separate trials once this charade of an appeals process is over, perhaps they should be charged for deliberately wasting public money on further appeals?

All four deny charges of false accounting over their expenses which carry a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.

Rik