A complaint against former Respect MP George Galloway over his use of parliamentary funds has been referred to the police, the parliamentary standards watchdog has revealed. Galloway's former parliamentary assistant Aisha Ali Khan reported him to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority earlier this year, claiming that she spent more time running personal errands for him than on official work.
She has alleged that, during her six-month stint as his taxpayer-funded assistant in 2012, she was required to help plan his wedding, shop for underwear, sort out his laundry, make his breakfast and work for the Viva Palestina charity. Her lawyers say that this amounts to a breach of the requirement to use funds for parliamentary purposes. Galloway denies the allegations.
Following an assessment of Ali Khan's claims, Ipsa's compliance officer Peter Davis has passed on the case to the Metropolitan Police. An Ipsa spokesman said: "Ipsa's compliance officer has completed his assessment of the George Galloway complaint and has passed it on to the Metropolitan Police Service." Galloway lost his Bradford West seat at the General Election earlier this month.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Ipsa have made a referral to the Metropolitan Police Service in relation to a parliamentary standards authority matter. This matter is currently being assessed." Under Met procedures, cases referred to the force are assessed before a decision is made on whether or not to launch an investigation.
Responding to the Ipsa statement, Galloway said: "This is news to me. According to the media, Ipsa have had a complaint but they haven't informed me who has complained or exactly what the complaint is about. And then, without even a call, an email or a letter, they appear to have handed it on to the Met and gone public about it."
He added: "If Ipsa's compliance officer has completed some kind of investigation without asking for any response from the person complained about, or even letting him know who has complained and what the complaint is about, then that is surely a breach of natural justice, and undoubtedly inspired by Kafka. When I know officially what this is all about, I will respond more fully."
Former MP Louise Mensch made a separate complaint to Ipsa about Ms Ali Khan's treatment, which now forms part of the same referral to the police. Mensch said she was "delighted" to be informed by Ipsa that her complaint had been referred.
Writing on Twitter, the former Conservative MP said: "I made several complaints against George Galloway to the Parliamentary authorities before the dissolution. I have followed the case of Mr George Galloway and Aisha Ali Khan for a long time and am thrilled to have Ipsa letter today."