Vincent McKee suspended from the Liberal Democrats

Following today’s story on Sky News alleging that Dr Vincent McKee has committed fraud,

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said:

With the support of the Federal party, the regional party launched an immediate investigation.

Mr McKee has been suspended from the party, pending the outcome of further investigations. The party will work with all other authorities involved in this matter.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 12th Jan '11 - 4:06pm

    “Dr Vincent McKee has been implicated in defrauding students out of thousands of pounds in tuition fees.”


  • Foregone Conclusion 12th Jan '11 - 4:50pm

    Err… this guy hasn’t been found guilty yet, or even arrested as far as I can work out. Can’t we wait until his trial at least?

  • It’s a disgrace that he’s been suspended before even being charged with an offence. He denies the allegation – which incidentally has been made by Sky News, not the police.

  • Depressed Ex Lib Dem 12th Jan '11 - 5:30pm

    “My daughter is in the process of taking Vincent Mckee and his company ICUT to court after he took two unauthorised payments from her bank account.”

    Is it possible that his company is really called ICUT? Is he a man or a metaphor?

  • “…the presumption of innocent until proven guilty does not mean what you think it does”. Perhaps you could enlighten us on this statement Alec? I think that most of us regard ‘innocent until proven guilty’ as one of the cornerstones of liberty in our society.

  • Err – who is Vincent McKee?

  • Err – who is Vincent McKee?

    Took the words out of my mouth…

    Whoever he is, I think it’s only right that he’s suspended while the allegations are investigated. That’s standard practice isn’t it? It’s what happens to doctors and police officers too AFAIK, so only right politicians are treated likewise by their parties. Obviously if found not guilty he should be reinstated.

  • Cllr Nick Cotter 12th Jan '11 - 6:33pm

    As well as being a Lib Dem Councillor I am also a Criminal Defence Lawyer – can I suggest that numerous comments here should be edited unless participants might find themselves on the wrong side of the Law !!

    Nick Cotter.

  • Simon McGrath 12th Jan '11 - 7:54pm

    Hang on, he hasn’t been charged with anything yet. Surely we should not suspend someone just because they are accused on TV of something?

    @George potter what is it in the article you link to that you think is illiberal?

  • @Simon McGrath

    Simon – it’s quite likely he might never be charged as the cops tend to avoid this kind of thing and shunt complainers off to the civil courts. They’ve always done this. What makes them act is publicity so who knows?

    I’ve read the Sky piece and it looks a solid piece of investigation with a number of complainers and also the fact that he overcharged the undercover Sky reporters who paid for tuition – let’s hope we don’t have another boring debate about unethical journos with Cable apologists trying to find legal loopholes to prosecute the,

    If the journos have got it wrong then let Cable or McKee sue them and pick up a big fat pay-out – I wouldn’t advise anyone to hold their breath btw.

    Still it really is a new twist to tuition fees scandal 🙂

  • Head of policy in Coventry????What on earth does that mean Matt ? Do we have Heads of Policy in all our towns? How do you become one?

  • Andrew Suffield 12th Jan '11 - 9:16pm

    Voicey, surely Nick wants to repeal the current libel laws?

    Reform, not repeal. We can and should still have strong libel laws in the UK; we just don’t want laws that US corporations can use as a bludgeon to silence random people who aren’t even in the UK. The current set of libel laws are a bit nuts in places.

  • Simon McGrath 12th Jan '11 - 9:31pm

    @ Various – i have to say I disgaree. we should not suspend someone based on an allegation.

    @George Potter – his point about the electoral dangers of pissing off committed christians seems rather perceptive given that this was why evan harris lost his seat.

  • @matt – thanks for the info and sorry for being lazy, I didn’t notice the article link and couldn’t be bothered to Google him!

    @david – I agree the title of ‘Head of Policy in Coventry’ sounds a bit silly, but I’ve known several local parties have ‘policy teams’. I guess it’s a product of our ultra-localism…

    @George – yes, and not just that, the tone of the whole article was a bit unhelpful. Terms like ‘militant humanists’, ‘ultra-libertarian sexual impositions’, ‘amoral goals’ and ‘ultra-secular political sect’ are hardly constructive, nor likely to entice his fellow party members that he disagrees with into a healthy debate about the issues. Like most parties, we’re a broad church (no irony intended!), but that rather depends on members from different schools of thought trying to respect each others’ points of view. And I never realised that Evan Harris had ‘disciples’ 🙂

  • >This bores me, but I don’t think it should be shut-down through threats of libel ‘cos I consider us all to be grown-ups who shouldn’t support a culture of grievance and litigation

    Are you saying people should ignore the laws they don’t like?!

    Or that it’s ok to defame people, because you don’t approve of the system of redress?

    As general points:
    Telling posters to stick within the law as it stands isn’t a threat.
    Whether LDV is LIKELY to be sued is neither here nor there: that’s like saying “it’s ok to break the law cos we’ll get away with it.”
    If there are posts on other threads that are iffy: two wrongs never did make a right. Tho’ (haven’t seen the posts) you can’t libel a party or group, IIRC, only clearly identifiable individuals.

    Current libel laws need reforming because they make it easy for wealthy interests to shut down genuine investigation into dodgy practice, for instance.
    Not so that anyone with a keyboard can state defamatory opinion as fact.

    And guilt or innocence is for the legal system to determine, after consideration of all the facts, not bloggers based on what they assume or think they know, based on something they saw on the telly 😉

  • @Trurojoe “It’s a disgrace that he’s been suspended before even being charged with an offence. He denies the allegation – which incidentally has been made by Sky News, not the police.”

    This is common practice, this happens in the workplace too, it’s not just a politics issue, workers get suspened pending an inquiry etc.

  • I remember when I worked for Robert Maxwell or at least one of his papers.

    He had a penchant for issuing libel actions against investigative journos trying to get to the bottom of his wheelings and dealings and anyone else who got up his nose. This effectively kicked things into the long grass and eventually he would drop the action when it suited him. He had hundreds and hundreds on the go at any one time.

    He then went for an investigative journo friend of mine who had written a few home truths about him – the usual writ followed for £500,000 in damages to his character/reputation . Eventually Maxwell did his usual and tried to drop the action only to find that in Scotland you can’t unilaterally drop an action it needs agreement from both sides. So my mate refused to drop it and carried on and won a rather famous victory which we still have a celebration drink or two or three to this day.

    When I was sued for £10million by an American multinational company my mate was a real rock and helped put things in perspective when he said: ‘If Maxwell had sued me for £5K I would have been worried but £500K was just a joke.

    So people need protection from malicious defamation or libel but fair comment, especially with someone in the public arena must be protected and of course veritas is an absolute defence to libel or defamation.

    It is worth pointing out that legal action can be taken against not just the original libel or defamatiion but anyone assisting in its further publication and it is this area that could leave LDV open to legal threat although the online issues are more complex than in say print or broadcast media.

  • Oh I should have said that those complaining about someone being suspended before they are charged and found guilty should remember that in most organisations there is either a written or implied stipulation that members shouldn’t bring the organisation into disrepute and that steps can taken to investigate tallegations and take appropriate action if necessary.

    Not being a LibDem member I don’t know the party mechanics but from reports it appears that an exisiting procedure has commenced and it seems self-evident to me that this procedure must allow for suspension if deemed necessary to get to the bottom of matters and for the dual purpose of protecting the party and the individual.

    This seems a straightforward case and there will be a wealth of documentary bank evidence to prove whether people were overcharged or not. All that is left is to determine is whether any overcharge was with criminal intent or sloppy admin or whatever. The sloppy admin defence might fail if there is a significant number of cases and according to reports a wide variety of different explanations have been tendered for the errors.

    But key to the defence is what an accused does when an error is pointed out to them and whether they rectify the mistake.

    Of course, we don’t know at this stage whether anything in the initial investigation by the Regional Party persuaded them that immediate suspension was necessary or, indeed, whether it even had the luxury of choice within its rule-book.

    At the end of the day, and it is something that a lot of LibDems on this site seem to lose track of is that dishonesty is not the province of one political party. It is one of the things that flawed people do – sometimes they might be under great financial pressure and do something out-of-character but it always amazes me how quickly it becomes a way of life for the vast majority of them once they start and how quickly they feel ‘entitled’ to the stolen money, goods or whatever.

  • Poppie's mum 13th Jan '11 - 4:01pm

    Have a look at the Sky News video.

    The reporter was understandably smiling when Mckee was coughing and spluttering and saying he had flu when the reporter phoned him to ask why two unauthorised sums of money, and attempt at a third, had been debited from his debit/credit card.

    According to other people who have had money taken from their accounts, when they phoned he he always the excuse that he has the flu. Unhealthiest man in Britain or someone not being completely truthful ?
    Is it libellous to comment on what is in the public domain ?

    All those Lib Dems using excuses of ‘libel’ to try and close the thread……just watch the Sky News film on which I’ve commented. McKee hardly appears to be very co-operative does he ?

    I feel really sorry for the student who said she had unauthorised and unearned money taken from her account and rang him to ask for it to be refunded because she could not afford to buy her family Christmas presents.

  • Poppie's mum 13th Jan '11 - 4:04pm

    ecojon @ “At the end of the day, and it is something that a lot of LibDems on this site seem to lose track of is that dishonesty is not the province of one political party.”

    Well said Ecojon.
    One of the reasons that people are getting so fed up with the Lib Dems is the constant ‘we’re better than you, fairer, more progressive, more moral,’ etc.

    The lie is being exposed, and surprise surprise if we scrape the surface the Lib Dems will contain as many bad uns
    as other parties.

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