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.