By Stephen Pollard
April 12, 2010
A pretty shoddy piece of populism from David Cameron, speaking in Loughborough as I write.
He's just had a pop at the 3 Labour MPs who've been granted legal aid to fight their case against the crimes with which they have been charged.
Nothing wrong there: it would have been mad of him not to point out that they are three Labour MPs.
But then he went on to say that there would be a review of legal aid under a Conservative government. And while he couldn't pre-judge its conclusions:
I can tell you, there won't be legal aid for Members of Parliament accused of fiddling their expenses.
In other words, he has pre-judged one of its conclusions.
But more to the point, on what basis should MPs accused of a crime be uniquely barred from being given funding to fight their case?
Note the word 'accused'. They haven't yet been found guilty of anything. Does Mr Cameron not believe in the principle of innocent until proven guilty? The MPs who have been charged might be foul people, but they are still entitled to proper legal representation and a fair trial, and if their income is such that they meet the criteria for legal aid, that's what they should get.