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Alleged expenses fiddlers to face justice

Parliamentary privilege claim kicked out

The four politicians facing fraud charges over their expenses today failed in their bid to avoid prosecution by using ancient Parliamentary privilege laws.

Three former Labour MPs and a Tory peer will now face trial in a public court as any member of the public would.

The Lord Chief Justice rejected their appeal against an earlier ruling that Parliamentary privilege - enshrined in statute 321 years ago to protect Parliamentary debate - did not apply to expenses claims.

David Chaytor, Elliot Morley, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield were charged with false accounting in February.

The Scotland Yard investigation was sparked by The Daily Telegraph's expenses disclosures last year, after it bought a CD containing complete files from a Fees Office insider.

The quartet could still take their attempt to avoid trial to the Supreme Court. All deny any wrongdoing. ®

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