Socialist Worker

Labour MP in expenses scam

Issue No. 2328

Labour MP Denis MacShane announced he was resigning as an MP after a damning report from the Commons expenses watchdog found he wrongly claimed thousands of pounds.

The Standards and Privileges Committee detailed how MacShane knowingly submitted 19 false invoices over a four year period. It said that the claims were “plainly intended to deceive”.

MacShane obtained 14 computers through expense claims. The Metropolitan Police dropped its own inquiry into MacShane without further action in July.

Letters from MacShane admitting expenses abuses cannot be used to prosecute him because they are protected by House of Commons rules.

Officials said parliamentary privilege meant the key correspondence was withheld from police. The documents are still not legally admissible—even though they have now been published.

Tory divisions over Europe resurface

The government was dealt a damaging blow as Tory rebels combined with Labour to inflict a bruising defeat last week. An amendment calling on ministers to demand a real-terms cut in the EU budget was passed with a 307 votes to 294.

An analysis of the division list showed 51 Conservative MPs defied Cameron. The announcement of the result was greeted with loud cheers from the Tory benches. Although it is not binding—simply requiring ministers to “take note”—the result will embolden Tory Euro-sceptics.

Fragmentation in the British ruling class over Europe penetrates deep into the party. As the crisis continues it threatens to reopen the bitter divisions over Europe which tore the party apart in the 1990s.

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Tue 6 Nov 2012, 17:54 GMT
Issue No. 2328
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