Senior Labour MP Denis MacShane Resigns Over Expenses Fraud
Today the story that had been rumbling for some time came to a very dramatic conclusion. Senior Labour MP and former Europe Minister Denis MacShane was found by the Commons Committee on Standards and Privileges to have submitted 19 fraudulent invoices, signed by a fake name, to claim £13,000 from the public purse. In their damning conclusion the committee found that MacShane “plainly intended to deceive” the Parliamentary expenses system. They also criticised his attempts to cover up the matter by failing to cooperate fully with the committee’s investigation. The cross-Party committee found that it was the “gravest case” to come before them and its Labour Chairman joined the criticism of MacShane’s actions. The committee’s recommendation was a 12 month suspension from Parliament which was overtaken by events this evening when MacShane resigned his Rotherham seat, forcing a by-election in what has long been a safe Labour seat.
The rank hypocrisy on the part of MacShane’s defenders today has been breathtaking. According to his defenders the real crime is that the BNP lodged a complaint against him, conveniently ignoring the damning conclusions of the Parliamentary Standards watchdog. The BNP may be odious but they did not deliberately fake invoices and submit the expenses claims to defraud the tax-payers of this nation. I was disgusted to listen to someone called Mark Stevens on the BBC’s ‘World at One’ today arguing that this was all a campaign against MacShane because of his “anti-fascist” campaigns. MacShane even has stooped to make similar arguments in his resignation statement.
The situation is simple, ANOTHER senior Labour MP has been caught with their hand in the till claiming money they were not entitled to, defrauding the Parliamentary expenses system and the British people in the process! When I consider the flak that many Conservative MP received over expenses claims which were submitted but rejected by the system, the calls for sympathy for MacShane’s situation really sticks in my throat.
The story may not end there however, tonight MacShane has been reported to the Metropolitan Police with a call for them to reopen their previous investigation in light of the Standards Committee’s findings. If past precedent is followed then MacShane faces a stretch at Her Majesty’s pleasure.