Prison threat hangs over expenses MPs

By Alex Stevenson

The worst offenders of the recent expenses scandal should be jailed, an MP has claimed.

Plaid Cymru’s Elfyn Lwyd told BBC1’s Question Time programme last night he expected as many as four MPs could find themselves behind bars for their abuses of the expenses system.

Mr Lwyd is a member of the Commons’ standards and privileges committee, which yesterday forced former minister Tony McNulty to apologise to the Commons for his expenses claims.

He made clear yesterday evening he expected some MPs would be jailed, explaining: “Unless and until some of the worst perpetrators are put through that mill, the public will never trust us again.”

MPs who are found guilty of putting in expenses claims which are “misleading or false” could find themselves in prison for up to a year, it has been reported.

The expenses issue has been in the headlines this week in the run-up to the publication on November 4th of Sir Christopher Kelly’s review of the expenses regime.

Many politicians are frustrated by the ongoing newsworthiness of the scandal. One senior member of the shadow Cabinet told the expenses fallout had become “farcial” and was a “witchhunt of McCarthyist proportions”.