Tory grandee Sir Peter Viggers forced to quit over £30,000 gardening bill
Times: The purge of Conservative MPs caught up in the expenses scandal intensified last night as David Cameron forced out a grandee who had claimed £30,000 for gardening.
Off with their heads?
As Gordon dithers while Westminster burns, rejects Cameron’s calls for an immediate election and admits that a conservative government being elected at a snap election would cause chaos Richard Gordon, QC, writing in the Times states –
“Thinking the unthinkable is what constitutional lawyers are paid to do. Many are now saying that with the daily revelations about improper expenses claims from beleaguered MPs the Queen should step in and dissolve Parliament — against the Government’s wishes — forcing a general election to compel MPs to stand for immediate re-election after a scandal on the scale of that of the pre 1832 rotten boroughs. Trust has now been destroyed. It can, so the argument runs, be rebuilt only by a neutral third party, the Queen, and not by a self-interested and wholly discredited cabal of politicians. ”
I suspect that an immediate election would do more harm than good at present and The Queen would be best advised to keep well out of this sorry mess. The prospect of an immediate election at a time when we are in the midst of a serious financial situation is not one that appeals greatly – a view quite possibly shared by many who sit back and reflect on the wider picture. While The Queen may have constitutional prerogatives to dissolve Parliament, in the event that she stays her hand, the timing of the next election will be at the discretion of Gordon Brown – assuming, of course, that the Labour Party men in togas, knives hidden within the folds of cloth, do not call upon the prime minister late of an evening shortly.
Far more interesting is the nature and scale of the cull of MPs coming. Tory grandees are dropping like flies. Hogg, Steen and now Sir Peter ‘Donald Duck’ Viggers are standing down… what will Gordon Brown’s Star Chamber do. Hazel Blears, we are told by the PM, has behaved unacceptably. Unacceptably enough to be removed? There are others, at a senior level within the Labour Party who should be considering their position. They may also have to look at their shoulders frequently to see if their collars are being felt by PC Plod. Jonathan Fisher, QC, in a most interesting article in The Time today writes: ” A police investigation into the MPs expenses scandal will swiftly identify false accounting as the criminal offence most likely to have been committed by the most egregious of the SW1 claimants. ”
Bar Boy, commenting on my blog yesterday wrote: “Do any of you grown up lawyer experts have a view over those of our esteemed parliamantarian troughers who also happen to be barristers, such as Hogg, Straw and Hoon. No one, to my knowledge, has yet commented on this aspect. The Bar is very insistent, to the point of being annoyingly repetitive, when banging on about standards and conduct, blah, blah, yawn etc. Should, for example, Inner, now be making an example of governing bencher Straw, and passing him the pearl handled revolver ? ”
He has a point. I may be making a telephone call to the Bar Council this morning and make yet another nuisance of myself.
Insite Law Magazine has been updated – major update of news, blogs, law reports – and I have a new Best Seller books *Carousel*.
In the spirit of our times, so I stay within the rules and I am transparent, I disclose a personal interest in what follows….
So if you want to buy your books for the beach etc – buy them through me and you will laze on the beach secure in the knowledge that the derisory commission offered by Amazon of 5% will go straight into my Rioja acccount and this may give you a warm glow. It will certainly give me one! To be honest… I am not bothered about the commission… I just liked the Bestseller carousel widget… I am into widgets. Have a look and see what is selling well at the moment in the bookshops and on Amazon!