[QODLink]
Europe
Four UK politicians to face charges
Lawmakers could face jail terms over alleged abuse of parliamentary expenses.
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2010 14:04 GMT
The expenses scandal touched all three main political parties and sparked public outrage [EPA]

Four British politicians will face criminal charges over alleged abuse of parliamentary expenses, the country's chief prosecutor has said.

Keir Starmer, director of public prosecutions, said on Friday charges of false accounting would be brought against three members of the House of Commons and one member of the House of Lords.

"In four cases, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges and that it is in the public interest to charge the individuals concerned," he said.

Charges of false accounting carry a possible jail term of up to seven years.

Friday's developments are the latest in a scandal over politicians' expenses, that has damaged Britain's ruling Labour and opposition Conservative parties in the run-up to a general election that must take place by June.

'Dishonest claims'

The saga was exposed last year when The Daily Telegraph newspaper published leaked details of thousands of claims, including second homes, horse manure, porn
movies and a mole catcher.

Starmer named the four politicians as Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, who are Labour MPs, and Paul White, known as Lord Hanningfield, a Conservative member of the upper House of Lords.

Morley, a former environment minister, faces two charges of dishonest claims for mortgage expenses.

Chaytor faces three charges of dishonest claims, while Devine faces two charges for making claims based on false invoices.

The BBC reported that the three had issued a joint statement denying the charges and vowing to "defend our position robustly".

White faces six charges, centred on numerous claims for overnight expenses for staying in London when records show he was driven home and did not spend the night in London.

"I totally refute the charges and will vigorously defend myself against them," he said in a statement, adding: "All the claims I have ever made were made in good faith."

The four defendants are scheduled to appear in court on March 11.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
French Jews and Muslims say recent National Front victories in mayoral races reflect rising xenophobia.
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
Featured
Survivors of Bangladesh garment factory collapse say they received little compensation and face economic hardship.
As Iraq prepares to vote, deadly violence is surging. But at the site of one bomb attack, people insist life must go on.
French Jews and Muslims say recent National Front victories in mayoral races reflect rising xenophobia.
Up to 23,000 federal prisoners could qualify for clemency under new Justice Department initiative.
After years of rapid growth, Argentina is bracing for another economic crisis as inflation eats up purchasing power.
join our mailing list