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Four British lawmakers charged with false accounting

Last Updated: Saturday, February 6, 2010 - 10:15

London: Three Labour MPs and a Tory peer have been charged with false accounting under the Theft Act in Britain`s blackest day in its parliamentary history.
Labour`s Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine and Tory shadow communities minister Lord Hanningfield will all be prosecuted, the director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer said.

A fifth criminal investigation, believed to involve Labour peer Baroness Uddin, of Bangladeshi origin, is still ongoing and charges are under consideration.

Britain`s Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the scandal was a "scar" on British democracy as he warned that only a radical overhaul of Parliament would quell the public`s anger.

The charges follow a special investigation set up by Metropolitan Police commissioner sir Paul Stephenson weeks after the scandal broke last May.

The files of the six parliamentarians accused of worst excesses were passed by police to the Crown Prosecution Service in November and December.

Morley, Labour MP for Scunthorpe and former agriculture minister, faces two counts under the Theft Act 1968 of dishonestly claiming expenses for his mortgage. Chaytor, Labour MP for Bury North, faces three charges under the Theft Act 1968 for false accounting over his invoices for IT services and second home claims.

Devine, Labour MP for Livingston, faces two charges under the Theft Act of false accounting over false invoices for cleaning and stationery.

Lord Hanningfield, the leader of Essex County Council, faces six charges under the Act relating to claims for overnight stays in London from March 2006 to May last year.

He claimed for the House of Lords overnight allowance, but had driven home and did not stay overnight, said Starmer. He was suspended from the Tory front bench and had the whip withdrawn.


First Published: Saturday, February 6, 2010 - 10:15
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