Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Conway & Sons escape prosecution

The Times report is here. On the face of it, the CPS and the police are treating a MP more leniently than they would a small business or a professional. Obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception is fraud whatever the 'rules' are. Certainly this is the view of Duncan Borrowman, but he could be said to have an interest, as the prospective LibDem candidate for Old Bexley.

However "weak" or "loose" the rules, there is NO excuse for claiming any money for someone who is not working at all at the time. It is a crime. I suppose the CPS argument might be that the House of Commons effectively left piles of money on the window-sill and said: "you should only take this money if it is due to you" and had no systems for determining whether or not those were the rules by which 660 gents and ladies took the cash.

Other fellow-LibDems say that we should not forget that it is safe seats which are the corrupting influence.

What is limited is the total spend. MPs with marginal seats, including most Lib Dems, can't afford to pay their staff much because they need a lot of them to do all the jobs necessary to retain their seats. In a safe seat MPs can pay more and do less work because they don't need to do more.

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