Wednesday, June 24, 2009

MP's to get an easy ride for fraud?

One of this Labour governments great ideas for "reform" is to introduce a series of criminal offences specific to members of parliament the most notable of which is to "knowingly make a false claim", which if found guilty. could lead to a sentence of 1 year in prison.

This is reminiscent of section 112 of the 1992 Administration of Social Security act (possibly as amended) which supposedly deals with benefit cheats. These offences are mostly dealt with in a magistrates court on the assumption that the accused is also the guilty regardless of the facts, after all it keeps the proles in line.

This is a case of making laws to grab headlines. Fraud has been a criminal offence for a very long time, as has obtaining pecuniary advantage by deceit. Those sort of offences command a far higher sentence but no more intent.

So what is going on?

Well, as I have discussed at length (particularly with CaptainFF) it is a case of New Labour grabbing headlines with new laws making what was already illegal more illegal but with knobs on, though in this case, with a considerably reduced maximum sentence.

Not only that there will be a committee of the great and the good appointed to oversee MP's expenses.

Hold on, I thought we already had that, we the voters! All we need is the information, without all that black ink.

I do not want some patsy telling me that everything is OK. I will look at the raw data and make my own mind up.

The BBC has this, Guido has this.


manwiddicombe said...

Hi bEneDicT.

The link to Guido gives me a 404 error?

As for making new laws to make things that are already illegal illegal .. .. .. Action Gordon is following the lead set by Action Tony .. .. .. better to do something than to do nothing?

Benedict White said...

Fixed the link! BTW, pass it on that we do not need another law.

most wanted woman said...

So more smoke screens to protect the elite.

Benedict White said...

most wanted woman, Well, non one in either the Conservative party, the Liberal Democrats or the Nationalists asked for that measure as far as I am aware.

I suspect one of the real motivations was to get headlines though, and that has worked because journalists are lamentably unaware that something is illegal when this lot propose passing yet another law.