UK & World News
MPs' Expenses: Ex-Labour Minister Suspended
Former Labour minister Denis MacShane is being suspended from the Commons over a string of false expenses claims running to thousands of pounds.
The Committee on Standards and Privileges said it would recommend Mr MacShane be suspended as an MP for 12 months after it found he submitted 19 false invoices "plainly intended to deceive" Parliament's expenses authority.
The former minister, who was suspended from the Labour party earlier in the day, said he was "shocked and saddened" that his political career had been destroyed. He is now considering his position as an MP.
Labour declared Mr MacShane's career as a Labour member of parliament to be "effectively over".
The Standards and Privileges Committee said it was impossible to say how much the Rotherham MP claimed "outside the rules", but it "may have been in the order of £7,500".
Chairman Kevin Barron said it was "the gravest case" his committee had considered in its role as Parliament's sleaze watchdog.
Mr MacShane's punishment reflected that his actions were "so far from what would be acceptable in any walk of life", the Standards and Privileges Committee said. He would lose his salary and pension contributions during the period of suspension.
Their recommendation must be approved by the Commons in a what usually amounts to a formality.
Mr MacShane previously had the whip withdrawn by Labour when allegations from the British National Party that he abused his expenses were investigated by Scotland Yard in September 2010. He was reinstated in July when the Met said they were taking no further action.
The committee's report notes that the former minister "has expressed his regret, and repaid the money wrongly claimed".
But it said the "real mischief" of Mr MacShane's conduct was that the "method he adopted of submitting false invoices" allowed him to bypass rules to spend public money as he saw fit.
It said it was "impossible to escape the conclusion" that he claimed in that way to ensure he was not challenged over using taxpayers' cash to fund travel for his work in Europe.
In his statement Mr MacShane said the BNP had won a "three-year campaign to destroy my political career".
He stressed that the police inquiry had found nothing and that the Standards and Privileges Committee "notes that there is no question of personal gain".
"Clearly I deeply regret that the way I chose to be reimbursed for costs related to my work in Europe and in combating anti-semitism, including being the Prime Minister's personal envoy, has been judged so harshly," he said.
Leading media lawyer Mark Stephens defended the former Labour minister.
He said: "I have worked with Dr Denis McShane for over 30 years on campaigns and anti-fascist work.
"This is a huge victory for racists and fascists who have in my opinion abused the parliamentary complaints system to destroy an honourable member of parliament who is a political opponent of the BNP.
" ...the chilling effect of this process will deter principled members of Parliament from rooting out prejudice and fascism wherever it may be found."
Hello, regular commenting on Orange News and Sport pages closes on Thursday 30 May 2013. We will continue to provide a commenting facility on major news and sport events on orangeworld.co.uk. Contact us via http://oran.ge/OWfeedback if you have any further questions. Thanks.
what do you think?
If anyone has the right to be shocked and saddened its the electorate - not Mr McShane. If the invoices were 'plainly intended to deceive' why is he being suspended instead of prosecuted. They still don't understand that the British electorate are thoroughly hacked off with MPs et al stealing from us and getting away with it scot free.
Could not agree more Phil
Dead right. If this was a benefit claimant, they would be facing a possible prison sentence. So far only three MPs have been imprisoned from the scores of politicians who cheated. Most of them were merely asked to 'pay it back'.
well done BNP or whoever it may have been who shopped this THIEF.
" Well done BNP " Stand back and wait for the flood of gratefull thanks from all our readers.
The BNP are equally corrupt, don't kid yourselves. Most of their former councillors (now since kicked out by the electorate) never turned up for council meetings but were happy to claim their expenses. Those that did bother to turn up voted, alongside the politicians they claim to despise, and voted with them for cuts.
The True face of Socialism....................This is exactly why it doesnt work, at the end of the day human nature takes over & people look after themselves.
Dennis MacShane is no socialist, believe you me. Are you also conveniently forgetting the Tories and LibDems who also cheated, Grant? No, MacShane supports the capitalist system and, as such, this is the true face of capitalism.
Come off it you numpty, New Labour "socialists" what planet are you living on? The wealth of the richest in society increased by 33% under the "socialist" New Labour administration while the wages of the workers remained stagnant. The Con/Lab/Lib party represents the rich and no one else.
Well said, John. Any chance he thinks he can get, he uses a Labour politician to smear socialists and, by implication, the labour movement generally. Like we can't see through that.
Funny how when they were in you didnt want to distance yourself from them. Liebour are socialists in sheep's clothing. 154 taxes they crept in to increase the size of the state. They stand for more taxes & more government which is closer than any tory party to socialism. Numpty
Another failure of the Labour party and Miliband and his corrupt set of MP's. Don't forget in the recent renting scandal, almost 70% of those responsible were Labour MP's. How dare that party criticise others and talk down to the electorate.
Socialist shocked and saddened his career is over - so, not the slightest remorse nor a single thought given to the people he stole it from .i.e we mug tax payers
Yes, just like the many Tories/LibDems who were caught out. But I wish I could find even the remotest hint of how this guy could be called a 'socialist'.
Good riddance. Shouldnt these cheats be suspended from a rope rather than just parliament?
He's typical of MPs of all parties who see politics as 'a career', to take and make money. MPs should be given no more than the average wage of a skilled worker and be subject to instant recall if they break the rules.
You'd get my vote. I dont know your politics but your service ethic is more important than issues of left and right in the current climate.
Windows Live User
Hi Ho Silver Lining. I should have changed paths and got into the party
when these thieving greedy arrogant people are caught robbing the tax payer they should be sent to prison and be stripped of all their assets lets see them live on the meagre benefit payments currently being paid out to the rest of the population
Even if they are loyal Lib/Lab/Cons ?
Why has this man not been arrested and charged with fraud ?????
Windows Live User
He's only in the doldrums for 12month with his lost pension contribution and salary for the same period, which will flyover. No real hardship. The Met said No further action? I really do want to be in the commons
Are MPs now above the law, apart from the few scapegoats jailed to placate the public? Joe Bloggs fiddling his benefit doesn't get treat so lightly.
He must pay it back and not have a pension. And he must be imprisoned
why cant this mp be taken to court ? a rule for one and a rule for another ? he has now resigned so in court he should be
Any MP who transgresses "Zer Rules" or (more importantly the law on conspiracy or theft, say) they should be dismissed! Not allowed to resign and possibly claim resignation benefits and pension. If any of us defrauded an alledged £7.5k or more, or stole it, would WE be allowed to apologise, or pay back part of the total and walk free? Why did the met back off (again!)? MP's are getting away with too much breaching of the laws they make to apply to the rest of us. How many are still colluding with professional lobbyists - some of whose proposals WE may object to?
Here is the definition of Parliamentary Priveledge - Parliamentary privilege grants certain legal immunities for Members of both Houses which allow them to perform their duties without interference from outside the House. The privileges are: Freedom of speech, freedom from arrest (on civil matters), freedom of access to the sovereign and that 'the most favourable construction should be placed on all the Houses's proceedings'. Members are immune from legal action in terms of slander but must adhere to the principles of parliamentary language. The claim that his letters are protected by this are clearly balderdash and clearly an excuse not to prosecute one of the 'old boys'.
Ihave read the parliamentary reprot on this matter. The Standards and Privileges Committee are witholding the invoices (evidence) on the grounds that they are privileged. The police have investigated the matter and decided to take no action even though the invoices were 'clearly meant to deceive'. Anyone who doesn't believe ther is one for law us and another for them should give their head a rattle. The 'old boy' network is doing its best to protect Mr Mcshane from prosecution - I wonder why?
It is no excuse blaming the BNP he knew what he was doing was wrong he can still campaign against BNP as a good ordinary citizen .The Labour Party has to go back to it`s roots and stop parachuting career politicians into constituents branches let local people decide who is best not C.I.A. approved candidates.
What really gets my goat about this case is how quickly it will be brushed under the carpet by Labour and the Left wing press,the same people that were apoplectic with rage about Mitchell losing his rag and swearing at a couple of Bobby's , yet here we have a much more serious case of criminal ,fraudulent behaviour by an MP that really does need properly investigating and for McShane to be held to account but he will just be allowed to wander off into the sunset and get off scot free. Absolute joke......and they wonder why people hold politicians in such contempt.
We know that MPs have no worry when it comes to mis-use with our money, pity the PM is not on the carpet for doing the same thing, in relation to the EU!