The MACSHAME DOCUMENTS READ AND WEEP
Standards and Privileges Committee - Second Report
Mr Denis MacShane
Here you can browse the report together with the Proceedings of the Committee.
The published report was ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 31 October 2012.
This extract gives you a flavour:
Cooperation with the inquiry
41. As the Commissioner says, Mr MacShane cooperated fully during the first part of his inquiry. Once that inquiry was resumed, this cooperation ceased for nearly 3 months. He claimed that the Chair had advised him to respond to the Commissioner's letter through a lawyer, a claim which Mr MacShane has since withdrawn. Members under investigation are free to take advice, if they feel it desirable, but the House requires them to respond to the Commissioner and the Committee's inquiries. Mr MacShane has explained the pressure he was under: he should still have responded to the Commissioner's letters. It was open to him to explain that he was unable to deal with the matter immediately: instead he ignored it.
42. The House of Commons's disciplinary system depends on investigation by an independent person. It is based on the principle that Members will provided the information the Commissioner needs to consider a complaint. In this case, we consider that we have sufficient information to come to a judgement. That does not excuse Mr MacShane's failure to cooperate with the Commissioner's inquiries, which is in itself a serious breach of the Code of Conduct.
43. We agree that Mr MacShane's claims for his computer equipment were excessive, and should have been seen as such. We do not believe that any reasonable Member would have considered it proper to have allowed interns to take laptops provided by the public purse away with them at the end of their internship. As the Commissioner found, Mr MacShane's claims for computer equipment did not meet the requirement to ensure that expenditure funded by the IEP was "wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred on Parliamentary duties." As the Commissioner also found "Mr MacShane was also in breach of the rules in submitting the same invoice twice for a computer he bought in December 2007 for £498.95. I fully accept that this was a mistake on his part and agree with Mr MacShane that it is unfortunate that this was not picked up by the Fees Office at the time."
Claims relating to the European Policy Institute
44. The most serious findings relate to the expenses claims submitted to support Mr MacShane's work in Europe. The Commissioner considers that some of the activities behind those claims were permissible. The claims totalled £12,900; the Commissioner considers that although it is impossible to say what proportion of the claims were outside the rules, it may have been in the order of £7,500. Over the course of the inquiry, Mr MacShane has repaid the entire £12,900 and he has apologised for his actions to the Commissioner and to us.
45. The real mischief of Mr MacShane's actions was that the method he adopted of submitting false invoices, as the Commissioner said, bypassed the checks and controls the House had instituted in a way which enabled Mr MacShane to spend public money as he thought fit. For example, one matter which we consider to be of the utmost gravity is Mr MacShane's use of public money to support European travel.
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