No fraud charges against Wellingborough and Rushden MP

Peter Bone MP
Peter Bone MP

No charges will be brought against the MP for Wellingborough and Rushden Peter Bone in relation to allegations of benefit fraud.

Mr Bone was questioned by police in relation to a long-running dispute with Northamptonshire County Council about the funding of residential care for his mother-in-law.

Mr Bone had denied any wrongdoing and said the claims had been made “without foundation”.

The Crown Prosecution Service has today said there is insufficient evidence to bring charges.

In a statement from Mr Bone, he said: “First, Jennie and I have been humbled by the huge number of phone calls, texts, emails and cards we have received supporting us.

“We are so very appreciative to everyone who has contacted us.

“It is amazing that we have had so many members of the public who have taken the time to get in touch, or cross the road to shake my hand; they have not always been of our political persuasion, but they have all expressed their warmest appreciation of what Jennie and I do for the constituency.

“It has also been interesting to hear of so many people who find themselves in a similar position to us.

“What has been so frustrating about this whole episode is that it has been going on for over a year, without an opportunity for us to clear our names.

“Recently, we have suffered trial by media.

“One newspaper in particular has printed information that is incorrect and made allegations that are totally untrue.

“It seems that certain newspapers feel able to print information that is without foundation, despite being told in advance that that information is factually incorrect.

“Jennie and I have just heard that we are not going to be charged with any criminal offence.

“This is obviously very good news and a vindication of our stance all along.

“As we have done nothing wrong and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) only considered the evidence, not newspaper innuendo, we have been proven innocent.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to place on record our thanks to the First Law Partnership and in particular Andy Hopkinson and Derek Johashen – their help and support has been invaluable.

“Please rest assured that I will continue to represent the people of Wellingborough and Rushden in Parliament, to the very best of my ability.

“Locally, I will be continuing my campaign for Rushden Lakes, for the reopening of Wellingborough Prison and the new urgent care centre at the Isebrook Hospital.

“Nationally, I will be holding the Government to account and making sure my constituents’ interests are represented through the Listening Campaign.

“I will continue to campaign for lower immigration, an In/Out EU Referendum and the Government’s long term economic plan.

“We are naturally delighted that this nightmare has now come to an end.”

The Crown Prosecution Service released a statement in relation to the matter.

Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “The CPS received a file of evidence from Northamptonshire Police in relation to a 54-year-old woman and her 61-year-old husband on 13 November 2013.

“Having carefully considered all of the available evidence, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, we have decided there is insufficient evidence to charge any criminal offence.

“We were asked to consider whether there was a case for fraud by abuse of position and theft by disposal of assets belonging to the woman’s mother.

“We were also asked to consider whether there was a case of fraud by false representation to Northamptonshire Council in relation to the mother’s assets.

“The evidence showed: firstly that the woman’s mother considered the suspects’ conduct to be acceptable; secondly that the suspects acted openly in declaring the sale of the mother’s house to the Council; thirdly that no element of dishonesty could be proved. Therefore we have advised the police to take no further action.

“We understand there is ongoing civil litigation.

“For the avoidance of doubt our advice to police relates solely to possible criminal action.”

Following the announcement, a spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “We are continuing to pursue vigorously the non-payment of an outstanding bill in relation to the care of Mr Bone’s mother-in-law.

“This is the usual course of action where we believe payment is due to the council for care services provided.

“These legal proceedings are separate to the police investigation which was carried out into allegations of fraud and the decision of the CPS has no bearing on our position.”