Expenses three turn to supreme court

By politics.co.uk staff

Three former MPs seeking to avoid a criminal trial over their expenses claims have received a setback – but still been allowed to appeal to the supreme court.

Lord Judge has ruled ex-Labour MPs David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Elliot Morley cannot take their case to the supreme court after they lost an appeal against an original ruling stating their case should be tried.

The trio are using parliamentary privilege to argue parliament, rather than the courts, has jurisdiction.

The lord chief justice allowed them to raise questions with supreme court justices, however, who will seek to establish whether the court is deprived of jurisdiction “by article nine of the Bill of Rights 1688 or the exclusive jurisdiction of parliament”.

Mr Chaytor, Mr Devine and Mr Morley deny theft by false accounting. Together with Lord Hanningfield they face 13 charges under section 17 of the Theft Act 1968.

Their case has attracted huge public interest in the wake of the expenses scandal, which triggered widespread anger with politicians.

Any supreme court ruling will also affect Eric Illsley, another Labour MP who is also facing a criminal trial for his expenses claims.