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Prosecutors to rule on British MPs` expenses: Report

Last Updated: Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 14:07

London: Six MPs could face fraud charges in coming months over a long-running expenses scandal that has rocked the British Parliament, according to a newspaper.
Police will soon pass files to the Crown Prosecution Service on three MPs and three peers, over alleged abuse of the expenses system after an investigation, The Daily Telegraph said.

Keir Starmer, the country’s top prosecutor, is then expected to make a decision on whether to lay criminal charges as early as January, just months before the next general election due by June, the newspaper said on its website.

"We have heard that things are about to come to a head," an unnamed parliamentary source told the newspaper.

Scotland Yard would not confirm the report, describing it as "speculation”.

"We decided to launch an investigation and we are not prepared to discuss the names and political allegiance of those under consideration," a Scotland Yard spokeswoman said.

The report follows weeks of leaks in The Daily Telegraph showing MPs had claimed for everything from a duck house to cleaning a moat at a country home, sparking public outrage as Britain struggled through a recession.

Three Labour MPs and three peers have been at the centre of the five-month long inquiry, according to the newspaper.

The most serious abuses allegedly involved claiming thousands of pounds in repayments from the public purse for "phantom mortgages" that did not exist.

The scandal has hit all main political parties hard, sparked a wave of resignations and forced Prime Minister Gordon Brown to announce an overhaul of the system.

The issue is set to re-emerge at the general election which Labour, in power since 1997, is tipped to lose to the Conservatives.

One of the highest profile victims of the scandal was House of Commons speaker Michael Martin, who was forced out following criticism of his handling of the expenses issue.

Separately, a total of 27 MPs are being investigated by tax officials amid revelations over their expense claims, officials confirmed last month.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 14:07

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