POLITICS

Two MPs' Expenses Claims Investigated By The Metropolitan Police After Parliamentary Watchdog Found Irregularities

04/12/2015 13:29 GMT | Updated 04/12/2015 13:59 GMT
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 07/08/13 of the Palace of Westminster as voters' trust in Westminster politicians falls the further away from London they live, according to a new survey.

Two MPs are being investigated on suspicion of committing criminal offences over their expense claims, the Metropolitan Police have revealed.

The MPs, who are not being named, were referred to the Met’s Special Inquiry Team earlier this year after an initial finding by Parliament’s standards watchdog.

A third case was also referred but the police have concluded there was no case to answer.

In a statement, the Met confirmed that one MP’s aide accepted a caution this year for fraud by false representation.

"Two (cases) are being investigated. An assessment of the third referral resulted in a 33-year-old woman, an employee of an MP, receiving a caution in April for fraud by false representation," it said.

The revelation that two current MPs are being investigated for serious offences is sure to spark fresh public anger over taxpayers’ money being abused by Parliamentarians.

Only this year, MPs were handed a bumper pay rise of 10% - just as public sector workers faced a pay freeze.

Six years after the 2009 expenses scandal, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) revealed in its annual report that three allegations of misuse were of such concern that it referred them to the police.

Ipsa was set up in the wake of the scandal to monitor parliamentary expenses, and is responsible for paying salaries and expenses.

Its compliance officer Peter Davis, who sent the three cases to Scotland Yard, said in his 2014/15 annual report: “During the course of the reporting period I have felt it necessary for the first time during my term of office to refer requests for investigation received from IPSA to the police.

“Three cases have been forwarded to the Metropolitan Police for assessment. One has been finalised and two remain with the police.”

The Evening Standard revealed that detectives have carried out a number of interviews under caution but the Met is refusing to say if the MPs themselves have been questioned.

The latest three cases are not thought to be on the scale of the worst abuses during the 2009 expenses scandal, which saw seven MPs and peers jailed for fiddles including mortgage fraud.

IPSA dramatically tightened the rules, including banning MPs from being able to make mortgage claims for a second home.

It also confirmed in May that its compliance officer had passed on complaints to the police against George Galloway, Respect MP for Bradford West between 2012 and 2015. It has not been stated if Mr Galloway’s case is one of the three mentioned in Mr Davis’ report.

The former Labour MP denied the claims against him and told the Standard: “I have not heard a word from the police throughout.”