I like this, really, I do

Last refuge of scoundrels and all that:

Three Labour MPs being investigated for expenses fraud are arguing that they should not be prosecuted because their suspect claims are covered by parliamentary privilege.

The MPs have hired legal experts to assert that the 1689 Bill of Rights protects them from prosecution.

I really do hope that they win as well.

For if they do win it means that the Bill of Rights remains the law of the land. Which means:

That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;

That the current practice of freezing someone\’s assets so that they cannot hire lawyers to defend themselves is illegal.

That Harriet Harman\’s idea of seizing the assets of suspected drug dealers on arrest is illegal.

Both of which would be definite improvements to the current situation.

Yes, sure, I\’d let a few scumbags hide behind the law to recover those ancient freedoms.

Good luck to the boyos.

11 comments on “I like this, really, I do

  1. I hope they win because it continues to show the public what a shabby parliament we have, and might convince them to be less likely to hand over more power to them.

    It’s funny, it’s not fuckups like the Olympics or the NHS IT system that will convince people to hire low taxation parliaments, but a few dodgy receipts for a few grand.

  2. Excellent post Tim, and I fully agree with all of it.

    This is right up my alley and I have posted a piece about it, hat-tipping you in the process.

    Thanks again!

    CR.

  3. Tim, I’m afraid you have got this wrong.

    The MPs are arguing from the position of parliamentary privilege, not “That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void…”

    And that one ‘clause’ of the Bill of Rights still stands does not mean any of the rest of it does.

  4. hiding shady practices behind the law can never be condoned….let these MPs describe how their expense claims aided their constituents or represented their values.

  5. A major problem is not so much the law, but the inconsistency with which it is applied.

    So chances are the MPs will be able to get away with it, whereas the rest of us get clobbered as before.

  6. “The MPs are arguing from the position of parliamentary privilege”

    Well, possibly, but it brings the fact that the Bills of Rights has never been repealed and that it is still relevant. It’s a bit derivative, but it focusses the mind a little.

  7. I’m not sure whether they will succeed. The relevant clause states:

    That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament;

    I’m not sure that dodgy expenses claims can justifiably be counted as any of that. Indeed I fear this spurious defence will simply give the meddlers even more excuses to bin the original BoR and replace it with something far more evil.

  8. the Bills of Rights has never been repealed and that it is still relevant.

    Some of it has been explicitly repealed, some of it implicitly repealed; some of it has been amended.

    I am aware of the argument that the BoR, among other statutes, is of constitutional significance and therefore cannot be implicitly repealed; to my knowledge this hasn’t been tested.

  9. The BoR is still published by the government on their own webpage as being still an act in force it is not claused or repealed in any way.

    It seems that Parliament cannot repeal or amend it there have been a few mentions of this over the years look at the “metric martyrs” case.

    The control or ban that the government has put on the British citizens right to bear arms appears to actually be unlawful, it has also been a disaster as it has promoted violent crime and greatly empowered the criminal element, read the hansard debates and you will se how ill judged the thinking and reasons were for the prevention of crime bill 1953.

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