Voters Will Not Be Told If Candidate Is Facing Enquiry

(Telegraph) – VOTERS will have to cast their ballots without knowing if their MPs are being investigated formally for abusing their expenses or position in Parliament, The Daily Telegraph has disclosed.

Dozens of MPs are thought to be under investigation by the parliamentary watchdog, the police and tax authorities – yet their identities are being kept secret.

Last night, John Lyon, the Parliamentary Commissioner, said he would not release the names of the MPs he was investigating, despite pledging to do so earlier this year. Outstanding investigations will now be suspended until after the election.

At least three MPs, one of whom is standing for re-election, are being investigated by the police but their identities will not be officially released.

Dozens of other MPs are facing tax investigations over their expense claims, which could also lead to criminal proceedings. The political parties are now under pressure to admit if they are fielding candidates who face the prospect of official censure.

Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said the parties should make it clear if a candidate was facing an investigation.

“I cannot for the life of me see that if another MP or a member of the public has complained about an MP, it should be a dark secret,” Sir Alistair said. “Democracy is about accountability, and the voters should have the full facts before them.”

Yesterday all three main party leaders unveiled plans to clean up Parliament. Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg pledged to introduce new powers that would lead to MPs facing by-elections if they were found to have broken parliamentary rules.

Mr Brown said: “I believe that we cannot truly master the other big challenges facing our country unless the legitimacy of our democracy is fully restored.”

Sir George Young, the shadow leader of the House, added: “People want change and politicians must become more directly accountable for their actions.”

However, none of the parties is planning to name its MPs under investigation.

Eric Illsley, the Labour MP for Barnsley Central, is the subject of a police inquiry into his expenses claims for council tax. Mr Illsley claimed more than £10,000 for council tax in four years although he had to pay only £3,966 for the Band C property in south London over the same period.

Those facing parliamentary inquiries are thought to include Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP for mid-Bedfordshire, who is being investigated after claiming for a “second home” where she is alleged to spend most of her time. She denies the allegation.

However, Mr Lyon refuses to disclose how many investigations are under way – or the targets of his inquiries. Earlier this year, he pledged to provide this information on a monthly basis, but Parliament had failed to approve the motion that allowed him to do so.