Sarah Teather cleared, mystery of forged letters remains

The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner has cleared Sarah Teather of allegations that she broke Parliamentary expense rules. You may remember those claims being enthusiastically hawked around by Tory Bear and others as if they were copper-bottomed fact; actually their claims were more like a rusty colander.

As the local newspaper reports of the Commissioner:

He discontinued the inquiry because he had no grounds for believing that claims Ms Teather made from parliamentary funds for her office provided support to the cost of the Lib Dem party…

Brent Liberal Democrats said the party contributed over and above its usage of the office, as approved by the Commons, calculated by a surveyor and agreed with a solicitor.

But the clearing of Sarah Teather actually raises more questions for Labour than it does for right-wing bloggers because of the forged letters which have come to light.

A letter of complaint against Sarah Teather was sent to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, supposedly from a  man at an address in Brent. Then a second letter of complaint was sent, again from this man, but giving a new address. However, this new address does not exist. There is a real address with the same house number and postcode (but different rest of address), at which there is one person on the electoral register – a woman who has the name of someone listed on Labour MP Dawn Butler’s register of interests as being a member of her staff.

Odd hey?

Moreover, the Parliamentary Commissioner tracked down the man who supposedly sent the complaints and concluded, “I have satisfied myself as to his identity.  He has stated that he did not make a complaint against you”.

So we have one letter from a genuine address, where the person denies sending it, and one letter from a fake address, where again the person denies sending it and the fake address is remarkably similar to the address of someone who looks to work for Dawn Butler MP (and so simlar that a letter sent to the fake address would be delivered to that staff member’s address by the Post Office).

No response as yet from Dawn Butler or the member of staff.

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  • Tony Greaves 30th Mar '10 - 8:43pm

    Labour dirty tricks in one of their former strongholds where they are under pressure from Liberal Democrats? Surely not!!!!

    Tony Greaves

  • Chris Leaman 31st Mar '10 - 8:14am
  • John O'Grady 31st Mar '10 - 12:45pm

    Unfortunately Scots law appears to be another of Guido’s areas of ignorance. Not proven is exactly the same as innocent.

  • Old Slaughter 31st Mar '10 - 12:49pm

    “If the glove don’t fit you must acquit”

    She is at the least as innocent as OJ.

    If having a charge dropped over a technicality is enough for your conscience mate then great.

    Other non-political types who can still see right and wrong without a judge’s gravel may have different opinions.

  • Old Slaughter 31st Mar '10 - 12:56pm

    I make my ‘gravel’ point again in light of John O’Grady’s comment.

    If a branch falls in the forest and no judge finds the tree guilty, did it actually happen?

    John, did it occur to you that Guido was not referring to Scottish law but the ACTUAL difference between having committed acts and not being legally called to account and not having committed the acts.

    Not being found guilty is not the same as not having done something.

    Not a legal definition, nor some moral equivalence nonsense. But actual wrong doing. The kind that if there were a God, he would know about.

    Bloody lawyers and pseudo-intellectual relativists. What sort of morally upstanding people would cheer for the defendant who got off because of a typo on the search warrant. This is essentially what you are doing.

    Granted, it’s not exactly Jeremy Thorpe, but it still counts.

  • John O'Grady 31st Mar '10 - 1:15pm

    No – the point about the Scottish verdict of ‘not-proven’ is that there are two ways of proving your innocence. One is by providing evidence that you didn’t do it – alibi. The other is that the prosecution cannot provide evidence ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that you did.

    Both reasons exist in English law – but only one verdict. And neither is considered a technicality.

    Anyway you’re simply trying to muddy the water by inferring that Sarah Teather might have a case to prove when she doesn’t. There is only one MP standing for election in Brent Central who has a prima facie evidence in front of her of her wrong doing – Dawn Butler – troughing, photoshoping and smearing.

  • So, all that’s needed now, is for some public spirited soul to make a complaint, using the proper process. That will enable this to be cleared up, properly. Of course, Teather could publish the full details of her office rental arrangements, in an open and transparent way.

  • She most definitely has not been “CLEARED”!. Though I suspect she is innocent.
    The inquiry would have to have been completed and she would have to be found not guilty to be “cleared”! What’s so hard to understand about “He discontinued the inquiry”?

    Hopefully, the boys in blue will go after the Butler gang for the letters . Typical Labour – dirty and incompetent.

    John O’Grady,
    Scots Law “not proven” is exactly that. It is certainly not the same as innocent! It is an acquittal where there is neither enough evidence for a “guilty” nor enough evidence for a “not guilty”. Only “not guilty” indicates innocence. Do try harder.

4 Trackbacks

  • By Sour grapes, Guido? on Wed 31st March 2010 at 1:32 pm.

    […] blogged so often and with such utter certainty claiming that there’s something dodgy about Sarah Teather’s expense claims that he seems just a mite reluctant to admit, “I was […]

  • […] Teather’s office was under investigation. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner later dropped the investigation because there were no grounds to suspect any wrongdoing by Ms […]

  • By Brent East Campaigning on Thu 22nd April 2010 at 5:52 pm.

    […] listed on Labour MP Dawn Butler’s register of interests as being a member of her staff.” Yes, very odd. These claims were also being hawked in letters sent to Mapesbury residents by Labour candidate […]

  • By Brent East Campaigning. on Sat 1st May 2010 at 2:01 pm.

    […] of Sarah Teather’s office was under investigation. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner later dropped the investigation because there were no grounds to suspect any wrongdoing by Ms […]

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