Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brown Tells MPs to Expect Disciplinary Action over Expenses Fiddles

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brown Tells MPs to Expect Disciplinary Action over Expenses Fiddles

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Waugh

GORDON BROWN warned MPs who abuse their expenses to expect disciplinary action today amid suggestions that hundreds could be forced to retire.

The Prime Minister spoke out after ordering an investigation into allegations that Labour backbencher Ben Chapman had made "phantom" mortgage claims.

Chief Whip Nick Brown was seeking clarification from Mr Chapman and from the Commons Fees Office after it emerged that he was paid [pounds sterling]15,000 in mortgage interest despite having paid off a big chunk of a loan on his London home. Many MPs expected that Mr Chapman would be suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party, as happened to David Chaytor and Elliot Morley who continued claiming mortgage interest after paying off loans.

Ministerial aide Rob Marris today called for an early general election to clear the air in the wake of the expenses scandal. He said: "I think we are going to have an early general election on this issue and that's not a bad thing."

Another Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle said the saga would have widespread consequences for MPs of all parties, with many fearing deselection. "I think we will see a huge number of MPs who are not going to stand at the next general election," Mr Hoyle said.

The Prime Minister said he had been "angered and appalled" by the expenses affair as "I was brought up to believe that we must have the best standards in public life". He added: "So there has got to be fundamental change. We are no longer talking about papering over the cracks."

Mr Brown said that "where there are failings and where people are responsible, they have to accept that there will be disciplinary action."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson today said that "people are going to be really furious" at the latest disclosures. …

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