‘Thieves’ who think they’re above the law: Three Labour MPs charged with expenses fraud argue a court has no right to put them on trial

Three Labour MPs at the centre of the expenses scandal tried to wriggle out of a criminal trial yesterday.

Although charged at Westminster magistrates’ court with claiming a combined total of almost £60,000 in fraudulent expenses, they insisted the courts had no jurisdiction over them.

Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine argued that, under the 321-year-old Bill of Rights, they could be judged only by the House of Commons.

At first, they declined even to stand in the dock – until told in no uncertain terms by the judge that they must.

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