Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Friday, 5 June 2009 16:04 UK

Charges 'unlikely' over expenses

Elliot Morley
Elliot Morley: Complaint about his claims sent to police

The Metropolitan Police has not ruled out criminal probes over MPs expenses.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said it was highly unlikely MPs would be taken to court, unless there was proof they misled Parliamentary authorities.

But it added that a special panel needed more information in a "small number" of cases before making a final decision on criminal investigations.

Many MPs who had faced complaints over their claims appeared to have provided accurate information, the Met said.

In May, the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service set up a joint panel of detectives and lawyers to look at the reports of how some MPs were using the Parliamentary expenses.

This panel was charged with looking at whether a criminal investigation should be launched, rather than actually beginning a full probe.

Scotland Yard had received some formal complaints, including from Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon, formerly a high-profile police officer, and a tax campaign group.

Questions remain

In a statement on Friday morning, Scotland Yard said the assessment panel had met on a number of occasions over the past two weeks and considered "a large number of allegations" about alleged abuse of expenses in both the Lords and Commons.

It said that members of the panel had set out to understand the procedures for claiming expenses from the Fees Office in Parliament, the twin departments managing all submissions from MPs and peers.

There are a small number of allegations where questions remain about the probity of the claims which will require further information before any decisions regarding investigations could be made
Scotland Yard and CPS statement

"The panel's view is that, unless evidence is available which shows individuals deliberately misled the fees office, it is highly unlikely that there could be a successful prosecution," said the statement.

"Many of those complained about appear to have provided accurate information and therefore the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) will not pursue a criminal investigation into allegations against them.

"It is for the Commons and the Lords authorities to decide whether they wish to consider these cases under their internal processes and should information come to light that indicates that either Fees Office has been deliberately misled, then they will be able to make a referral back to the MPS for further consideration.

"However, there are a small number of allegations where questions remain about the probity of the claims which will require further information before any decisions regarding investigations could be made."

"We are therefore continuing to liaise with parliamentary authorities in the two houses over the provision of this additional information, so the assessment panel can make informed decisions on these remaining allegations."



Print Sponsor



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific