Former MEP to face no charges over expenses

Den Dover
Den Dover
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Former MEP Den Dover will not face any criminal charges against him following a lengthy police investigation.

The ex-North West MEP, now 75, was expelled from the Conservative party in November 2008 after an investigation was launched into money paid to a family-owned company, of which his wife Kathleen and daughter Amanda were directors.

He stood down as MEP in 2009 and was ordered by the European Court to repay £345,000 of “unduly paid” expenses claims in March 2011.

The cash has now been completely repaid, and the former Chorley MP said he felt “exonerated” and “relieved” by the news that he will face no charges, following a police investigation of more than two years.

“The whole matter is closed and the Crown Prosecution Service are happy nothing should be done”, said Mr Dover.

He said: “I feel exonerated and relieved and it just proved, as I’ve always said, that the rules are completely all-over-the-show or non-existent, and they’ve had to change them all since then. There are no clear working arrangements, it’s an absolute farce so we appealed against the finding. We shared the costs - I stood my costs, the European Court of Justice stood theirs costs.

“I took the secretary general to the European Court of Justice to say it’s an unfair finding and the answer came back to say I was perfectly in order to do what I did.

“I had not broken any rules but they considered, and it was a gross injustice, that I should repay fundamental costs, for which receipts were available.

“We appealed against it and now we have the truth, and the truth is I was used as a scapegoat by the Parliament for the sins of others and the lack of clarification in the rules and they should never have gone for me.”

Mr Dover said it had been a “pleasure” to represent Chorley as MP.

He said: “The fact is now I’m exonerated, I’m cleared, closure has been achieved.

“It was a real pleasure to represent Chorley as an MP for 18 years and also to be an MEP for the whole of the region for 10 years. I was chief whip, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I would thank everyone I’ve represented, who’s worked with me and for me, and I did everything I could for the people of Chorley and the people in the North West.We’ve arrived at the close of that chapter.”

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said: “Hertfordshire Constabulary sought early investigative advice from the CPS regarding an allegation of fraud relating to European Parliamentary expenses.

“On detailed analysis of the investigation material and the background to the case the reviewing lawyer said that there was insufficient evidence of fraud and/or dishonesty.”

A CPS spokesman said: “At the request of Hertfordshire Police, the CPS gave some early investigative advice on this matter. No formal charging decision was requested and we understand that the police have now decided to take no further action.” The Conservative Party declined to comment.