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U.K. Lawmakers in Expenses Scandal Lose Supreme Court Ruling

Former Labour party members of parliament Elliot Morley, left, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, right. Photographer: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Former Labour party members of parliament Elliot Morley, left, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, right. Photographer: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Three former lawmakers accused of filing improper expense claims must face a normal criminal trial, the U.K.’s highest court ruled.

Judges at the Supreme Court in London today rejected claims made by former Labour party members of parliament Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine that they are protected by “Parliamentary Privilege.”

President of the Supreme Court Nicholas Phillips made the ruling today, without indicating how the nine-judge panel voted. The court has said it will give its reasoning for the ruling at a later date.

U.K. prosecutors in February charged the men over falsely accounting for their expenses while serving in Parliament. Two lower courts have previously ruled they should be tried in a criminal court.

Nigel Pleming, a lawyer for the men, told the Supreme Court last month the lawmakers don’t claim to be above the law. He said they brought the case to determine the correct venue for a trial, and that they should be tried by Parliament itself.

The case is: R v. Chaytor & Others (Appellants).

To contact the reporter on this story: James Lumley in London at jlumley1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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