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New parliamentary expenses evidence passed to CPS

Chris Greenwood,Press Association
Tuesday 30 March 2010 16:40 BST

Scotland Yard passed a new file of evidence against a Parliamentarian suspected of abusing expenses to prosecutors today.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed the dossier was handed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

He said: "One further file of evidence relating to parliamentary expenses has been delivered today to the Crown Prosecution Service."

The file was the eighth to be completed and sent to prosecutors by detectives at the Metropolitan Police's specialist crime wing.

Police and prosecutors declined to confirm the identity of the politician who is the subject of the file.

It has been claimed that Leyton and Wanstead MP Harry Cohen is under police scrutiny after claiming around £70,000 for a second home while renting out his main one.

Another MP, Eric Illsley, is also suspected of being investigated over claims that he allegedly made "phantom" claims for council tax.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "This file will now be subject to CPS consideration on whether there should be any charges.

"This brings the total number of files handed to the CPS to eight, relating to eight people.

"To date, four of these files have resulted in charges. The CPS decided there would be no charges brought in relation to two of these files.

"A small number of cases remain subject to consideration by the joint MPS and CPS assessment panel or are subject to continuing investigation."

Representatives of three Labour MPs appeared in court today to face charges of theft by false accounting.

MPs David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine have insisted their case should be dealt with by Parliament's authorities instead.

Legal representatives of Tory peer Lord Hanningfield, who also faces charges, will appear at Southwark Crown Court tomorrow.

There was outrage earlier this month when Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said Labour peer Baroness Uddin would not be prosecuted.

He said the wording of guidelines issued by the House authorities had presented prosecutors with a "very real difficulty" in bringing a case.

Prosecutors said no charges would be brought against a sixth politician, former Labour chairman Lord Clarke of Hampstead, because of a lack of evidence.

The police investigation into alleged expenses abuses by MPs and peers has cost the taxpayer more than half a million pounds so far.

Scotland Yard said up to 13 officers have been working on cases involving parliamentary allowances since the scandal broke last May.

A freedom of information request by the Press Association revealed the inquiry has cost £508,500 up to mid-March.

The publication of detailed claims for expenses and allowances by the Daily Telegraph newspaper provoked an extraordinary public scandal.

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