Crown drops Parliamentary expenses’ case against Baroness Uddin
BARONESS Uddin of Bethnal Green won’t be facing criminal charges over her Parliamentary expenses, the Crown Prosecution Service has decided. She was accused of claiming a flat in Maidstone was her main home, while living in a rented housing association family property in Wapping
BARONESS Uddin of Bethnal Green won’t be facing criminal charges over her Parliamentary expenses, the Crown Prosecution Service has decided today.
She had been accused of claiming a flat in Maidstone was her main home in order to get allowances for peers from outside London, while she was living in a rented three-storey Spitalfields housing association family property at Garnet Street in Wapping.
Police obtained evidence from neighbours of Baroness Uddin and from water, gas and electric companies supplying the flat in Maidstone. But the Met has been advised by the Crown Prosecution to take no further action against her.
“I am relieved this ordeal has finally come to an end,” she told the BBC. “I now wish to turn back to my professional life and my public duties and my family.”
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Rules which allow peers to visit their main home’ just once a month would have caused “real difficulty” for prosecutors, according to the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer.
He said: “Baroness Uddin had nominated a flat she owned in Maidstone as her only or main residence,’ but it was alleged that it was a house in East London.
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“The definition would be critical to any criminal proceedings against Baroness Uddin.”
Ultimately it is up to Members to designate an address as their main residence as they see fit, according to the Clerk of the Parliaments.
An inquiry by the House of Lords into her case was put on hold’ last July, pending the police investigation which is now over.
Scotland Yard has been investigating various MPs and peers since the Parliamentary expenses scandal broke last May. Three MPs, including East London’s Harry Cohen at Leyton, and a peer told magistrates yesterday they would plead not guilty to charges of theft by false accounting.