Following on from This story which appeared on March 30th. British National Party sleazebuster Mick Barnbrook has taken yet another scalp with the announcement that Labour MP Harry Cohen (Pictured) is to step down at the next election due to allegations of expense fiddling.
Mr Barnbrook, a former Metropolitan police inspector, who is also the BNP’s spokesman on police matters, was the one who first raised the entire issue of expense fiddling with the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards when he complained about Tory MP Derek Conway.
It was that complaint which resulted in the first review of MPs’ expenses. Since then, Mr Barnbrook has overseen the downfall of at least two other senior members of the Westminster gang, and has lodged complaints against a further 19 with the commissioner.
Mr Cohen, MP for Wanstead and Leyton, is one of the 19, and has directly attributed his decision to stand down as an MP at the next election to Mr Barnbrook’s complaints.
“A major influence has been recent events around Parliamentary expenses,” Mr Cohen told a newspaper.
“I am still awaiting my name to be cleared both by the Press Complaints Commission and the Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards after a complaint was lodged against me by a BNP member,” Mr Cohen said.
Mr Barnbrook has also requested the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to investigate Mr Cohen because he believes the matter is so clear-cut as to warrant criminal charges.
”Members of Parliament are able to claim up to £24,006 a year for a second home in order to be near to the House of Commons to vote,” Mr Barnbrook explained.
“Mr Cohen has nominated a one bedroom house seventy miles from his constituency in Colchester as his main home, rather than a big house he owns in his constituency of Leyton and Wanstead.
“By doing this he is able to claim the full additional costs allowance of £24,006 on the bigger house in Leyton, by nominating it as his second home. If he had nominated the one bedroom house in Colchester as his second home, the amount of money he would have been able to claim in additional costs allowance would have been substantially less.
“Mr Cohen is on record as saying that he lives in Leyton and only visits the house in Colchester on some weekends.
Mr Barnbrook pointed out that Mr Cohen has claimed the full additional costs allowance since 1990. “If this is correct it means he has claimed £310,714 in total.”
One down, 18 to go, concluded a satisfied Mr Barnbrook.