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UK expenses investigation reaches court

Yesterday saw three Labour MPs and a Conservative Peer appearing in a UK court amid allegations of expenses fraud. Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield are each accused of various offences surrounding their expense claims in the past. While it is unclear as to whether any other politicians may face court in the future, the case against the four individuals in question is seen by many as a test case.

Even the initial appearance of the four politicians in court was shrouded in controversy when they initially attempted to sit in the public gallery rather than the dock. However, they were instructed to sit in the dock as any other accused would be in a similar situation. The MPs had to run a gauntlet of hate as they entered the City of Westminster Magistrates Court where there have been granted unconditional bail ahead of a further court hearing in the future.

To add insult to injury at least one of the politicians in question is claiming Parliamentary privilege which if proved would effectively bar the politicians from being prosecuted by the UK courts. It is unclear as to whether the allegations against the four are covered by Parliamentary privilege and this is an issue which is set to drag on for some time to come.

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