(2010) MPs and Peer to Stand Trial as would the Common Man

Three former Labour MPs and a Conservative peer are to face criminal trials for alleged expenses fraud after a judge threw out their attempts to claim parliamentary privilege.

Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield had argued that they could not be tried in court because of a 300-year-old law exempting MPs and Lords from prosecution over proceedings in parliament.

But Mr Justice Saunders rejected their application, saying there was “no logical, practical, moral or legal justification” for expenses claims being covered by privilege.

However, the four men have announced they will appeal against the decision, meaning the taxpayer will face a bill running into six figures for another hearing.

The judge granted permission for the men to take their case to the Court of Appeal for a hearing which is likely to take place later in the summer.

If their appeal is unsuccessful they will face juries at Southwark Crown Court in south London on charges of false accounting in separate trials which could begin before the end of this year.

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