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Police probe two cases of alleged misuse of taxpayer-funded expenses by MPs

Police are investigating two cases of alleged misuse of taxpayer-funded expenses by MPs.

Expenses watchdog Peter Davis, t he Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's compliance officer, referred three cases to Scotland Yard for assessment, one of which has been finalised and two of which remain with the police.

In his annual report for 2014-15 Mr Davis said he had felt it necessary to refer cases to the police for the first time.

The cases were referred to the police in March, and one has resulted in an MP's aide receiving a caution for fraud, Scotland Yard said.

In his report Mr Davis said: " During the course of the reporting period I have felt it necessary for the first time during my term of office to refer requests for investigation received from Ipsa to the police."

The compliance officer has an agreement with the Metropolitan Police to inform them if there is reason to believe a criminal offence has been committed by an MP or a member of their staff.

Mr Davis said: "Three cas es have been forwarded to the Metropolitan Police for assessment; one has been finalised and two remain with the police."

The identities of those involved have not been disclosed.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "O f the three referrals made to us by Ipsa in March 2015, two are being investigated. An assessment of the third referral resulted in a 33-year-old woman, an employee of an MP, receiving a caution in April for fraud by false representation."

The role of the Ipsa compliance officer is to review decisions by the authority to refuse MPs' expenses claims and conduct investigations if there is a suspicion that an MP may have broken the rules.

Mr Davis, a former senior police officer, had pushed for the names of MPs under investigation to be kept secret, but that was eventually dropped by Ipsa after heavy criticism.

Although the names of MPs under investigation are published, the identities of those referred to the police have not been and the fact that they have been referred to the police was buried in three paragraphs on page 74 of a 77-page document.

In the annual report Mr Davis defended his approach to publicity, stressing that he would do as required and no more.

He said: " I am cognisant that publicity, especially in cases without foundation, carries an inherent risk of reputational damage."

He said the procedures governing his role s et out the "information I am required to publish with respect to an investigation, and when this should take place", adding "I will not deviate from this."

In evidence to the Standards Committee in October last year, Mr Davis indicated that he would like even less transparency, saying: "I can see that the vast majority of cases can be dealt with quite effectively without the need for any publicity."


From Belfast Telegraph