The Whitehall mole revelling in Jacqui Smith's discomfort

Chris Galley tells Michael Savage why he wants MPs to get their comeuppance

When Jacqui Smith was forced to stand up in the Commons and make a humiliating apology over her use of the Commons expenses system this week, one of her former employees took even more interest in the embarrassing admission than most.

For Chris Galley, it represented a remarkable turnaround in his fortunes and a personal victory over the former home secretary. It was little more than six months ago that Ms Smith's Home Office sacked Mr Galley after he was arrested and exposed as the Whitehall mole who had leaked a string of politically explosive stories about the department.

The fallout from his handiwork, including a police raid on the offices of the Tory frontbencher Damian Green, and the departure of the Speaker, Michael Martin, left him down and out. Even the Conservatives, the party for which he had lost all in order to help, cut him loose.

But after a brief stint in the wilderness, the man who once tried to bring down Ms Smith from within the corridors of power has returned to play a key role in her new difficulties.

While her apology was ordered by the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee, the seven-month investigation into her use of expenses began after a complaint from the pro-transparency group, the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics. It alleged that by wrongly listing her sister's London property as her main home, she was able to claim £116,000 for her constituency home in Redditch. When the complaint was upheld, the centre's director, one Chris Galley, was delighted.

He insists that the fact that he again finds himself pitted against Ms Smith is not the actions of an embittered former employee, but is purely a coincidence. "It just happens to be her," he said. "We will only go after MPs who we think have serious questions to answer."

Mr Galley is not letting Ms Smith off with an apology. The institute is now putting pressure on her to pay back more than £42,000 in expenses it says she claimed after 2007, when she began spending even more time in Redditch.

"It's for things like patio heaters," Mr Galley said. And he has an even more ambitious plan to bring down his former boss – he is attempting to launch a private prosecution against her over her expenses claims.

"These things are always expensive, but hopefully we can get this to court," he said.

"If we can do that, I am quite happy that a jury would be convinced that there is a case to answer."

The stakes are high. If the case even makes it into the judicial system, it would be hugely embarrassing not only for Ms Smith, but for all MPs desperately hoping to move on from the expenses scandal.

"We are hoping to use this as a test case that others will be able to use against more MPs in the future... who are guilty of acting unscrupulously," Mr Galley said. He has raised about £15,000 for the "Bring Jacqui to Justice" campaign, but needs around £100,000 to proceed with the prosecution.

His return to the spotlight was facilitated by the political blogger Paul Staines, aka Guido Fawkes, who brought about the end to the career of one of Gordon Brown's most senior aides, Damian McBride, by exposing the now infamous "smear emails" in which the special adviser had dreamed up untrue stories about several Tories. Having read about Mr Galley's plight and how he was cut adrift by the Tories, Mr Staines invited him to join the Sunlight Centre, which he set up last July.

"He was treated badly," Mr Staines said. "We had a drink to discuss it first and he began as director in June." According to Mr Galley, the pair are kindred spirits: "We share views on transparency and Government, and it started from there."

Ms Smith looks set to fight on for Labour, but with a group of angry voters and a small majority of just 2,716, it could well be Mr Galley who has the final word.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing