Monday, February 08, 2010

Hattie Tries To Gag Dave

Fighting back Cameron is launching a blistering attack on Brown and his expenses fiddling suspects as they try to escape from a criminal court. But Hattie had the gall to tell Dave to keep quiet for calling for a new law to stamp out the abuse.

Outrage led to outpourings of disgust from both Tory and LibDem leaders, with the 'disgusting sight' of MPs charged with fiddling expenses trying to hide behind the smokescreen of parliamentary privilege with a 'get out of jail free' card.

Couple Cameron's personal attack on the struggling Supreme Leader's sinster style and Bunkered Brown's failure to stop his MPs 'abusing parliamentary privilege' and it's turning into a right old dog fight.

Deputy dog and wannabe PM, 'Big Sis' Harman, lectured the opposition leader on the Today programme, claiming Cameron's call could lead to the charges being thrown out of court. "He's got to be very careful what he says or his comments might actually jeopardise the trial," wagged Hattie.

What utter tosh. Harman's weak and wooly outburst is politicking at the lowest level to protect the New Labour three, using 'sub judice' to put a lid on the whole sordid saga.

Wading in with fresh unreported details on the case against the three, maybe. But nothing Cameron is set to say scratches the surface. And that would go for any MP wanting to raise the matter under the protected privilege of the House.

The only possible contempt of court came with Channel 4 News' broadcast of a lengthy interview with one of the suspects, Devine, putting up the case for his defence and making a complete pigs ear of it. No New Labour crony came out to attack that.

In fact the New Labour gang have been remarkably quiet. Brown had his chance to close down the debate and as usual he blew it.

Both Cameron and Clegg rounded on the New Labour three when it was suggested they could try to be above the law using ancient parliament privilege to wriggle out of a criminal trial. Brown could have joined in with suitable outrage but adding he doesn't think it would come to that. But if in doubt he says nowt.

Now he's given Cameron the perfect election gift to challenge him to back the introduction of a new Parliamentary Privilege Act before the election with the added bonus of using the sordid saga for a bit of political point scoring.

Cameron's attack follows the announcement last week that three New Labour MPs Morley, Devine and Chaytor face criminal charges over their expenses under the Theft Act.

Cameron is on a winner wondering why the three are using the Labour Party's official solicitor to help mount their controversial defence. And demanding to know why they still have the protection of the party whip.

There's always been something fishy about the handling of this case. As the Orange Party pointed out when they were charged, the timing was perfect for the fiddlers three.

Police and Legg auditors had been investigating since the Telegraph blew the whistle in May last year. Morley was then "suspended" from the parliamentary Labour party, according to Brown.

Files were sent to state prosecutors in November but only now has the CPS decided to bring criminal charges.

None were arrested, instead summoned to appear in court next month which neatly allows all three to continue to draw fat MPs salaries until time for huge golden goodbyes.

The reason for the delay is clear. New Labour could not risk three damaging and expensive by-elections on the back of the MPs' expenses scandal. The by-election caused by disgraced speaker Martin forced to quit was quite enough.

The three have been told they cannot run on a New Labour ticket at the election and are standing down. But none had the party whip withdrawn. That ignominy could tip them over the edge forcing them to quit.

In a late move to take some of the wind out of Cameron's sails, New Labour finally suspended the whip on all three charged MPs today, handing Dave easy victory and leaving Big Sis with egg on her face.

Cameron was in like a shot last May, capturing the political high ground, leaving Brown floundering around, as the sordid expenses scandal blew up. Now he's managing to do it all over again.

The last thing New Labour wants is for Cameron to be on his uppers. But New Labour's handling of the whole sorry mess is a golden chance to milk the scandal and tap into genuine public outrage. New Labour has only itself to blame.

Bottom picture: Brown announcing Morley's PLP suspension, Feb 14 2009

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