Why we have called the police in to investigate MPs' expenses

May 14, 2009 1:27 PM

Following the latest - and most shocking - revelations in the MPs' expenses saga, regarding Elliot Morley's claims for a mortgage that had already been paid off, the TaxPayers' Alliance have registered a formal complaint with the Metropolitan Police today. We have asked them to investigate whether Mr Morley is in breach of any laws, including the Fraud Act 2006.

After a little bit of confusion on the part of the police, who tried to suggest we should "complain to our MP", they have registered our call with an Incident Number (CAD2149) and apparently police officers will be meeting with Parliamentary Officials today. We should hear more later this afternoon.

This is a serious step to take, but these are extremely serious allegations. The reports about Mr Morley's sustained claims for a mortgage that he was no longer paying for take the issue out of the realms of greed, absurdity or flawed rules and into the question of the criminal law. Of course, anyone is innocent until proven guilty but there must be a full and proper police investigation of this matter to determine whether taxpayers have been defrauded.

As well as an investigation into Mr Morley, full transparency on all MPs' expenses claims must occur immediately. It is essential to accountability that the taxpayers and voters of the land should be able to scrutinise these 1.2 million receipts and invoices for themselves. That process is also essential to identify which MPs have done nothing wrong, and which others should be facing criticism or even investigation like Morley.

Crucially, one of the many public services performed by the Telegraph over the last few days has been to demonstrate how essential it is that when MPs' expenses are published the details revealed must include second home addresses. The Commons Commission's planned release in July would not have featured that information, and so without the Telegraph's leak we would never have found out about scams like house flipping, or Margaret Moran's dodgy claims.

To that end, the TPA has teamed up with Freedom of Information campaigner Heather Brooke to launch an online petition demanding full and immediate publication of all expenses details.

If the Police do not investigate Mr Morley, or any other MPs who appear to have broken the law, or if the Crown Prosecution Service is not willing to take the cases on, then the TaxPayers' Alliance will consider bringing a private prosecution. This is too serious an issue to ignore, and it is too harmful to our democracy to pretend that it can all be dispelled by waving apology cheques or claiming lapses of memory. If any of Mr Morley's constituents behaved as he has with their employer's money or with the taxman, they would be in extremely hot water - those same rules must apply to MPs.

Sign the petition for full transparency on MPs' expenses here.

- Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive, TaxPayers' AllianceFollowing the latest - and most shocking - revelations in the MPs' expenses saga, regarding Elliot Morley's claims for a mortgage that had already been paid off, the TaxPayers' Alliance have registered a formal complaint with the Metropolitan Police today. We have asked them to investigate whether Mr Morley is in breach of any laws, including the Fraud Act 2006.

After a little bit of confusion on the part of the police, who tried to suggest we should "complain to our MP", they have registered our call with an Incident Number (CAD2149) and apparently police officers will be meeting with Parliamentary Officials today. We should hear more later this afternoon.

This is a serious step to take, but these are extremely serious allegations. The reports about Mr Morley's sustained claims for a mortgage that he was no longer paying for take the issue out of the realms of greed, absurdity or flawed rules and into the question of the criminal law. Of course, anyone is innocent until proven guilty but there must be a full and proper police investigation of this matter to determine whether taxpayers have been defrauded.

As well as an investigation into Mr Morley, full transparency on all MPs' expenses claims must occur immediately. It is essential to accountability that the taxpayers and voters of the land should be able to scrutinise these 1.2 million receipts and invoices for themselves. That process is also essential to identify which MPs have done nothing wrong, and which others should be facing criticism or even investigation like Morley.

Crucially, one of the many public services performed by the Telegraph over the last few days has been to demonstrate how essential it is that when MPs' expenses are published the details revealed must include second home addresses. The Commons Commission's planned release in July would not have featured that information, and so without the Telegraph's leak we would never have found out about scams like house flipping, or Margaret Moran's dodgy claims.

To that end, the TPA has teamed up with Freedom of Information campaigner Heather Brooke to launch an online petition demanding full and immediate publication of all expenses details.

If the Police do not investigate Mr Morley, or any other MPs who appear to have broken the law, or if the Crown Prosecution Service is not willing to take the cases on, then the TaxPayers' Alliance will consider bringing a private prosecution. This is too serious an issue to ignore, and it is too harmful to our democracy to pretend that it can all be dispelled by waving apology cheques or claiming lapses of memory. If any of Mr Morley's constituents behaved as he has with their employer's money or with the taxman, they would be in extremely hot water - those same rules must apply to MPs.

Sign the petition for full transparency on MPs' expenses here.

- Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive, TaxPayers' Alliance

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