Three Labour members of Parliament and one Conservative member of the House of Lords are to face criminal charges over their expenses claims, in a new twist in the scandal that has rocked British politics.
Criminal charges of false accounting have been levelled against four British lawmakers over their parliamentary expenses.
Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, from Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour party, are members of the lower House of Commons, and Paul White, known as Lord Hanningfield, a Conservative member of the upper House of Lords.
The criminal charges stem from a wider scandal last year over MPs and members of the House of Lords abusing the expense system to claim for items ranging from toilet paper to moat cleaning. The ensuing uproar dominated newspaper headlines for weeks.
Public outrage was vocal and widespread, ending several political careers. Neither was the scandal restricted to one political party, affecting Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democratic Parties.
"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," UK Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said in a televised statement.
The four men, who all deny the charges, face a maximum sentence of seven years in jail. They are scheduled to appear in court on March 11.
The Labour Party has barred the three MPs from standing in the forthcoming general elections.
The Conservatives said White had resigned as the party's shadow transport minister in the Lords and would be suspended as a member of the party's group in the upper chamber.
Date created : 2010-02-05