20 Jun 2009

British police to investigate some MPs' expenses

9:23 pm on 20 June 2009

Police are to investigate the expense claims of some British MPs in a scandal that has affected Britain's three main political parties.

Voters have been angered by weeks of disclosures about claims for everything from cleaning a moat to mortgages that had already been paid off.

Scotland Yard says a panel of senior detectives and prosecutors have decided that full inquiries are necessary for a small number of MPs and peers in the House of Lords.

A police and Crown Prosecution Service panel will continue to consider a small number of other individuals, it added.

Police would not say whom was under investigation, or which party they belonged to.

The scandal has ended the careers of more than a dozen MPs who have said they will not stand at the next general election.

British police say politicians will face criminal investigations into their expenses claims.

Police inquiries are expected to focus on politicians accused of deliberately misleading the authorities or claiming repayments for phantom mortgages.

The announcement follows weeks of leaks in the media showing lawmakers had claimed for everything from a duck island to cleaning a moat at a country home.

But the most serious abuses involved claims for mortgage payments on second homes.

Two weeks ago, the police said it was highly unlikely anyone would face prosecution, but the scandal over MPs' expense claims continues to fester.

The British Parliament's public administration select committee chair, Tony Wright, believes the investigation will be welcomed both by voters and by MPs facing allegations.