One week on from the initial announcement that we have teamed up with the Daily Mail to bring a private prosecution against any MPs who may have broken the law in their expenses claims, I thought it was a good opportunity to give you an update on our progress. As you will recall, we initially called for the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate several MPs and to bring proceedings through the normal channels – only if they failed or refused to do so would we bring a private prosecution. To that end, I wrote to both the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service last week to ask for clarification as to whether they are currently engaged in an investigation or not. In order to make sure that they didn’t drag their feet or leave the question hanging, we set a deadline – they were asked to confirm one way or the other by 4pm on Friday 29th May. This is such an important case – and there should be such a solid paper trail available at the Parliamentary Fees Office – that we had to make sure there was no dithering or delaying.
Sadly, the letter I have received at the end of last week from Acting Commander Nigel Mawer at the Met’s Economic and Specialist Crime Unit is far from encouraging. All he is willing to say is that “these important matters are being considered by a joint police and Crown Prosecution Service panel and in due course where appropriate, public statements will be made.”
So, in plain English, they are still just considering whether they might perhaps start an investigation – despite our initial complaint being submitted over two weeks ago, and despite the clearly pressing nature of the case. This is very disappointing, and means we are forced to commence gathering evidence for a private prosecution. Our lawyers will now write to several MPs whose behaviour is of particular concern, inviting them to come for interview with our legal representatives. One way or another any MP who has broken the law must be brought to justice, and we would urge the police and the CPS to launch an official investigation with the utmost speed. If the official authorities won’t do so, then we will.
As a reminder, if you would like to donate to the private prosecution fund, click here. If you would like to sign up to the TaxPayers’ Alliance to join campaign and get regular updates about our progress, click here.