Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Margaret Moran Facing Prosecution - What About David Laws? Why Haven't The Others Been Named?

Margaret Moran the ex-MP for Luton South will be prosecuted on 15 charges of false accounting and six charges of forgery related to claims worth more than £60,000.
Investigations have centred on allegations that Moran repeatedly "flipped" her designated second home, making claims for properties in London, Luton and Southampton over a four-year period.
Apparently Margaret Moran is the last MP to be prosecuted, fine, but why aren't the others being named? What is the big secret? Who are they that they can have protection like this?

OK if Margaret Moran is to face prosecution for and is found guilty then she has to face punishment, however, why  has she been singled out and why have Labour MPs in general been singled out for prosecution when so many Tories and Liberal Democrats have been allowed to get away with "fiddling" their expenses? Please do no misunderstand me, if they have done wrong then so be it, they pay the price whatever party they belong to however, what I am objecting to is why the law is only being applied to some MPs and ex MPs and not to others? We either have one law and everyone is treated the same or we don't, it is unacceptable for the law to be applied in some cases and not in others. I give you these examples:

David Laws Liberal Democrat MP Former Chief Secretary to the Treasury

The Daily Telegraph revealed last year that Mr Laws claimed more than £40,000 of taxpayers’ money to rent a room in his partner’s house. MPs are banned from paying partners or spouses rent with the parliamentary allowance.

As well as £40.000 in claimed for rent,  In just one month, for example, Mr Laws claimed £150 for utilities, £125 for telephone bills, £125 for cleaning, £150 for service and maintenance, £150 for repairs and insurance and £200 for household items.

In March 2008, the fees office began asking MPs to submit receipts for claims over £25. Mr Laws’ claims dropped sharply and he submitted a new rental agreement, signed by him and his partner, which stated that the utility bill costs were £37 a month.
Between 2004 and 2009, Mr Laws claimed expenses at two properties owned by Mr Lundie (Mr Laws partner). In six years, he claimed £94,957 under the second home allowance
 Mr Laws was found guilty of six breaches of parliamentary rules by the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee and in the end all he got was a 7 day suspension from the House of Commons. To make matters worse David Cameron has made no secret of the fact that he wants him back in the cabinet.

Mr Laws's claims were based on a "false premise of their relationship" and  he had submitted "fraudulent documentation" to the Commons authorities in order to create that impression.
Laws said also that, living as lodger as he purported to be, there was no reason for Mr Laws to claim for repairs and maintenance of the property, raising questions of whether "the real motivation was to benefit himself and his partner".
His total claims were in excess of £50.000 - Now the Tories and their mates in the right wing press have made much about so-called "benefit cheats", if a person *knowingly* claimed housing benefit and on getting caught they proclaimed they only claimed housing benefit because they did not want to their family to know they were Gay, would this have held as a genuine excuse for fraudulently claiming over £50,000, or would the person who claimed be charged and if found guilty sent to prison? What David Laws did is just the same, he claimed housing allowance from the state under false pretences, he said he was a lodger when he was not he was living with and cohabitating with his partner and claiming allowance as if he was a lodger and this is fundamentally dishonest and it is exactly that same as other MPs have been to prison for, it is false accounting!

Then there was the case of Sir Peter Viggers the Conservative who claimed for a duck house to be floated on his lake, the claim was disallowed, but he also made other claims for gardening etc.

 Sir Peter Viggers: backbench Conservative MP
Salary: £64,766
Total second home claims
2004-05: £20,371
2005-06: £19,927
2006-07: £22,110
2007-08: £23,083
His expenses files reveal that he was paid more than £30,000 of taxpayers’ money for “gardening” over three years, including nearly £500 for 28 tons of manure.

He had a similar arrangement with the fees office to Douglas Hogg, submitting an annual list of the costs of maintaining his second home and then dividing them across the year for monthly payments.
Mr Hogg, who has said he will stand down at the next election, included with his expenses the cost of having a moat cleared. Sir Peter included his duck island. His handwritten list of spending for the financial year 2006-07 amounted to £33,747.19 and included “pond feature £1,645”.
In March 2007 he submitted a single claim of £18,522.59 for the final seven months of the financial year, noting that he understood it would be “limited by the annual maximum”. The fees office reduced the claim to £10,769.94 accordingly.
It was unclear whether he received money specifically for the duck island. A fees officer scrawled “not allowable” next to it. Sir Peter also submitted a £213.95 electrician’s bill including fixing lights on a “fountain” and “hanging lights on Christmas tree”. The year before, the annual costs Sir Peter had submitted came to £24,164.96. He asked for part of that to be paid under a separate office costs allowance. They included £6,960 on gardening, £1,800 on grass cutting and estate management, £533.23 on garden design, £460 on pest control, and £250 on irrigation. He submitted “sample invoices” of £782.50 and £750.
In February 2007 officials wrote to Sir Peter asking him to submit claims based on “actual costs” per month. In 2007-08, the costs of maintaining his second home rose to £36,158.93 including £19,000 on gardening and £3,275 for roof and chimney repairs. He reached the maximum allowed by December 2007.
Sir Peter was educated at Cambridge and served as an industry minister under Margaret Thatcher.
He owns a flat in central London and sold his second home last year for £800,000.
In a statement, Sir Peter said: “The claims I made were in accordance with the rules, and were all approved by the fees office. Since then the situation has changed and we must all take account of that.

There seems to be one rule for the Tories and Liberal Democrats and another for Labour and  claimants of welfare.
All the MPs in question have maintained they were all made with accordance to the rules, if that is the case why have there been prosecutions and what singles some out for prosecution and not others?

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