Nearly six hours have elapsed since news broke of the proposed action by the Crown Prosecution Service against three Labour MPs and a Tory peer for alleged criminal offences arising from their handling of Parliamentary expenses. I'm wondering whether or not the Labour three will now have the whip suspended/withdrawn.
As Chief Whip in Hackney in 1995, I was given clear guidance when a then member of the Labour Group faced criminal charges to invite the member concerned to resign the whip pending consideration of the charges in court. When the person concerned refused, the whip was withdrawn.
UPDATE 2300: Just back from the theatre to discover this post has stirred a discussion on Political Betting about whether or not Messrs Chaytor and Morley are still Labour MPs. According to Richard Whelan both Chaytor and Morley were suspended from the PLP in May last year. And there are lots of stories to that effect dated in mid May. My reference point is the House of Commons website MPs by Party. All three are still listed as Labour MPs. Of course it's Friday and the House staff need respite from the stripping away of any kudos for anyone now working in the Palace of Westminster. So if the MPs in question were suspended in May why are they still listed as Labour MPs? When Bob Spink MP fell out with the Tory Party over similar matters he did have the Whip withdrawn and was eventually listed as an Independent. In any event none of the above deals with Devine. Time for 39 Victoria Street to clarify their status, or is it the PLP , or maybe the Chief Whip, and as a last resort, there is always No. 10?