Tories to make MPs liable to prosecution

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Indy Politics

An incoming Tory Government would pass early legislation making clear that MPs cannot escape prosecution for fiddling their expenses by claiming they are above the law.

David Cameron will announce the move today as he promises to usher in a "new politics" for a "broken Parliament" in the wake of the controversy over MPs' allowances. His pledge comes as three Labour MPs facing criminal charges over their expenses claims plan to invoke the 1689 Bill of Rights, which protects the right of Parliament to deal with its own affairs.

Mr Cameron has asked Sir George Young, the shadow Leader of the Commons, to draw up a new Parliamentary Privilege Bill to clarify the rules and ensure they cannot be used by MPs to evade justice. The Tory leader will attack Gordon Brown's handling of the affair, saying: "He tolerates the disgusting sight of Labour MPs taking parliamentary privilege and abuse it in order to save their skins and avoid prosecution for fraud."

Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, insisted MPs accused of fiddling expenses should not be able to use parliamentary privilege. He said: "The public would be aghast if they thought there was some special get-out-of-jail card for parliamentarians."

Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, will today describe both Mr Brown and Mr Cameron as a "roadblock to reform". He will say: "Gordon Brown has been the obdurate obstacle to almost every attempt at political reform over the past 13 years." He will liken both leaders to "a couple of cowboy builders coming back to your house to tell you how bad their workmanship is".

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