Coffee House

Denis MacShane’s career with Labour is over as he faces suspension over expenses claims

2 November 2012

12:31 PM

2 November 2012

12:31 PM

The Committee on Standards and Privileges has recommended this morning that Denis MacShane be suspended as an MP for 12 months after he submitted 19 false expenses invoices worth £12,900 over four financial years. The committee’s report, which you can read in full here, concluded:

‘We accept that Mr MacShane is widely acknowledged for his interest in European affairs, and the funds he claimed could be said to have been used in supporting that interest. Those activities may have contributed to his Parliamentary work, albeit indirectly. He has expressed his regret, and repaid the money wrongly claimed. But this does not excuse his behaviour in knowingly submitting nineteen false invoices over a period of four financial years which were plainly intended to deceive the Parliamentary expenses authorities. This is so far from what would be acceptable in any walk of life that we recommend that Mr MacShane be suspended from the service of the House for twelve months. This would mean he lost his salary and pension contributions for this period.’

The committee said this was the ‘gravest case which has come to us for adjudication, rather than being dealt with under the criminal law’. A police investigation into the claims was dropped in July 2012, and MacShane was reinstated as a Labour MP. But the party has now suspended him again, with this statement:

‘These are very serious findings concerning Denis MacShane and we accept his statement this morning that his career as a Labour MP is effectively over. In the light of the report’s recommendations to the House, the Labour party has suspended Denis MacShane with immediate effect, pending a full NEC enquiry. We will be talking to Denis MacShane about his future and the best course of action for him and for his constituency.’

MacShane could remain as an independent MP until the 2015 general election, and the suspension means that his Rotherham constituents will not have an active MP at all for a year. Campaigners are pointing out today that this underlines the need for legislation allowing the recall of MPs by their constituents. It doesn’t seem the government agrees, though: it was only last week that it gave strong indications that the mechanism won’t be seeing the light of day any time soon.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • waste watcher

    Well Well someone gets caught again with their hand in the cookie jar buts thats ok because its an oversight, mistake, clerical error or gremlins in the computer putting wrong information on claims sheets.there is no way of checking if MPs are fiddling travel or hotel receipts as they do not state the day they travel or stay in hotels, I have challenged IPSA several times regarding claims and they just tell you the date the receipt goes in is not always the date it is for as MPs buy tickets for travel in advance to save money, Bull and S- – – – is the words that come to mind. when is a thief not a thief.
    When they are MPS there is almost the same amount now being claimed as when the scandal first broke. Pigs and troughs I say.

  • Y Rhyfelwr Dewr

    “Intended to deceive”, which is what everybody in the country not in Parliament would call “fraud”. Any chance of a prosecution then?

    No, I didn’t think so. If you and I were found to have submitted false receipts with the intention of claiming money to which we were not entitled, we’d go to jail. But if you’re properly connected to the latter-day aristocracy, you can always pull a few strings, call in a few favours, scratch a few backs, to ensure your punishment it’s committed to a slap on the wrist.

    We have two legal systems in this country: one for the noble and great ones, and one for the plebeians.

  • Border Boy

    Maybe Den thought he was an MEP and that the normal rules with regard to expenses did not apply to him.

  • Tron

    So MacShame only lied and cheated the taxpayer out of thousands of pounds. No wonder the police and CPS dropped the case.
    It’s a good job he didn’t make a bad joke on twitter. He would be in prison now.

    • FRANKP1


  • TomTom

    Joan Smith will see this as an attack on Feminism in The Guardian !

    • Fergus Pickering

      There was a curious chap on The World at One who said it was a disgrace the charges were not dropped because McShane was a noted anti-fascist. I’m not sure whether he thought the charges were pressed by the jews or by the nazis or by both at once.

  • Charlie the Chump

    Now Guido has referred the Parliamentary report to Plod , apparently some evidence could not be included because it was subject to privilege.
    GAME ON!
    And Huhne to come in January too. Happy New Year.

  • Daniel Tekel Thomas

    The NEC will be talking to McShane about his future and the best course of acton for him and his constituency! In other words they will be looking for ways to soften the blow for him and the Labour party.
    Outside the incestuous world of politics and the public sector, McShane would have his collar felt, be prosectuted and if found guilty thrown in the slammer. As an MP he worse than any benefits cheat.
    Whats best for his constituents, if he had a shred of decency, is that he resign forthwith but he is a politician and a Labour one at that, so decency will be in short supply.

  • Daniel Maris

    Before you all hang draw and quarter him, I must say I rather liked the guy. I think he brought a certain seriousness to the debates about Europe, even if I disagreed with him.

    That said, it does sound like he abused the system then in place (as rotten system) and has to accept his punishment. The honourable thing to do would be to resign and stand again as an independent if he wants to remain in public life.

    • Holly

      Oh dear. Never mind eh.
      Is this the same ‘serious’ guy who stands in the HoC with a self righteous, holier than thou attitude?.
      He is a ‘serious’ guy, but for all the wrong reasons.
      This is a guy who ‘seriously’ believes he is as honest as the driven snow.
      A guy who ‘seriously’ believes the money he took, was his to take.
      A guy who ‘seriously’ believes this money is not taxpayers money, intended to fund essential public services.
      Like ALL Labour MP’s this is a guy who ‘seriously’ believes it is THEIR money.
      The reason they ‘seriously’ believe this myth, is because like all other Labour myths, they repeat it so often they end up believing it.

      Even Cameron had to remind the great Miliband the money government receives is NOT grown on trees, or plucked from thin air, he reminded Miliband of who’s money it actually is, who earns it, and where it ALL comes from…..

      I can happily live with the fact that this ‘serious’ guy now thinks his political career is all but destroyed.
      Icing/Cherry…Cake…Jail…Happy new year Den!

    • Holby18

      I like him too. However, having read the report albeit quickly and in particular the tone of his letters to the Committee which are appended to the report, I was left feeling upset at the explanations and the disregard of taxpayers money.I abhor the acts but always forgive the perpetrator who has now paid dearly…

      • HooksLaw

        Apparently he was rude and bullying to commons officials too. Shocking behaviour which if we take the Labour party seriously should have led to his expulsion ages ago.

    • HooksLaw

      He claimed 125k for an office which was apparently in his garage.
      Money from this particular claim was channelled by him to an organisation ‘administered’ by his brother.

    • Jw Rotherham

      He would not dare to stand as an Independent. He would be trounced. He should resign NOW!

  • Swiss Bob

    Keir Starmer doesn’t prosecute his fellow travellers.

  • BILL

    So what will happen with ED BALLS & his MRS who reportedly fiddled £300K in housing expenses ??

  • Holby18

    I have quickly read the report. He certainly had a cavalier attitude to taxpayers money – his explanation for the purchase of numerous computers – ie not worried about the means to get the job done. Shocking. By far the most serious claim is false invoicing….I am concerned that this was not picked up by the Metropolitan Police as it most certainly constitutes fraud. Further towards the end of the enquiry he refused interviews with the Committee. And finally, I was most upset at how he tried to justify his dishonest behaviour by blaming incidents in his personal life such as the death of his daughter, the mother of his first child etc etc. In my experience this is common practice for those who transgress the law.

    Did the Labour Party make a mistake in giving him back the Whip based on the Met not pursuing criminal charges? Will he have the brass neck to continue as an MP after his 12 months suspension? What a mess…..and what dreadful disregard for the rules.

    • HooksLaw

      Did the Labour party make a mistake? Another bad judgement by Miliband?

    • FrenchNews

      More importantly why should his constituents be without an MP in the House for 12 months just because their present one is now named a crook. He should be obliged to resign so a bye-election can be held.

  • Kevin

    To adapt Robert Bolt: It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world … but for £12,900?

    • Holby18

      He repaid that. Nevertheless, he falsely submitted receipts (did the MP who took over from Robin Cook – Jim Devine who went to prison not do this too)?

  • Vulture

    Denis MacShame: the true ugly face of the Europhile elite who run our lives. (He claims he made his false expenses to fund his Europhile activities).
    Instead of paying £10,000 to stuff their Boa Constrictor Albert, the FO should stuff this snake and mout him – he’s a worthy represenative of EU corruption.
    Incidentally, he has form in assuming false identities – he was sacked from the BBC for rining his own phone-in shows using a false name.
    His real identity is clear to us all: socialist, cheat, liar, expenses trougher, hypocrite and Labour Minister. It all kinda goes together. And naturally, he’s never going to jail.

    • Heartless etc.,

      His real identity is clear to us all: socialist, cheat, liar, expenses trougher, hypocrite and Labour Minister.

      Your words touch a raw nerve. A shame therefore that so many MP’s left before the expenses scandal broke – and, having left no expenses record, are blameless and spotless. Indeed, who would dare to impute them? It’s just that many would love to be reassured by a sight of the unblemished record of the Hero of the H2B – who spawned so much other trouble and strife.

    • TomTom

      His real identity is clear to us all: socialist, cheat, liar, expenses
      trougher, hypocrite and Labour Minister. It all kinda goes together……….ah Vulture, you mean Denis Matyjaszek

      • Russell

        Funny how these people use different names… Mrs Balls/Cooper, Mrs Harman/Dromey etc.

    • Bluesman

      John Prescott is standing for PCC.

  • anyfool

    The committee said this was the ‘gravest case which has come to us for adjudication.

    They missed the word “yet” from their missive.

    The good thing about this is that there is one less sanctimonious crook in the Commons, maybe this committee could grow a pair of balls and go for the Balls over flipping mortgages.

    Flipping burgers should be the most any employer should trust these two to do but knowing the mental vacuity of the electorate they could be PM and Chancellor when they get rid of Miliband.

  • monty61

    If this man had any shred of honour he would resign as an MP.

    Fat chance of that though.

    • Olaf

      He’ll “stand down at the next election” in order to claim his golden goodbye

      • Charles

        One of the expected changes in the IPSA review will be the elimination of the golden goodbye for MPs who step down rather than are sacked by the electorate. (In the latter case a ‘redundancy’ payment seems reasonable).

        I’m sure they won’t introduce until after the next election though. In the name of “fairness” naturally!

  • Judy

    The CPS should be asked to review its decision not to prosecute. But also the cases of other MPs who got away with equivalent frauds should be reviewed. And as for Denis Laws– it is absolutely shameful not only that he was brought back into government after having defrauded the taxpayer out of £40,000, but he’s now in a ministerial role which has him going out making speeches to schools about moral standards.

    It’s also open to MPs to vote to expel Macshane. If they’ve got any sense, that’s what they’ll do. However, I think too many of them have got similar form for this to be a realistic prospect.

    It is gruesome that MacShane was this morning blaming the BNP for his downfall. Shows that he really is totally shameless and brazen.

    • Douglas Carter

      Good news of the year for me.

      Couldn’t happen to a nicer man.

    • HooksLaw

      Ask the police why not… they have previously interviewed him. Presumably he was polite.

  • WRDT

    This appears to be a straightforward case of theft. Why isn’t he on his way to gaol?

    • TomTom

      MPs have Sovereign Immunity……they are like Gentlemen at the Gaming Tables

      • David V Smith

        But they don’t as the conviction of numerous MPs for numerous offences has demonstrated over recent years.

        • telemachus

          “Campaigners are pointing out today that this underlines the need for legislation allowing the recall of MPs by their constituents.”
          What about starting with Reckless and Pritchard?

          • EndOfTrolls

            What about starting with Balls, Cooper and the rest of the corrupt labour opposition?

      • HooksLaw

        Do they now? Where would that be enshrined.

  • sunnydayrider

    Fair enough. but why is he not in jail? If his crimes are so obvious that a bunch of MP’s have him bang to rights, what on earth was Plod doing letting him off the hook?

    • TomTom

      Plod didn’t not want to be considered “plebeian”

    • Russell

      Parliamentary privilege as the Standards Commission did not publish their findings in their report until now meant the police could not use that evidence!