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MAGILL UNDER FIRE FOR USING SECRET WESTMINSTER PAPERS

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The district auditor in the Westminster City Council 'homes-for-votes' affair went far further than any other distr...
The district auditor in the Westminster City Council 'homes-for-votes' affair went far further than any other district auditor when he sought out and seized secret political papers, the public inquiry heard today.

Anthony Scrivener QC, for former leader Dame Shirley Porter, said everyone except district auditor John Magill understood the 'great divide' between what council members would love to do and what they were legally able to do.

Mr Scrivener said Mr Magill was wrong to rely on discussions in closed meetings of Tory members as evidence of what was later decided in council chambers.

Mr Magill obtained 'strictly confidential' papers from closed meetings when he compiled his report accusing Dame Shirley and others of wasting £21 million of council money.

'What was said in these meetings is one thing. It does not mean that councillors forget their duties when they go into the council chamber,' he said.

'If the district auditor is right, I can imagine all the shredders in councils around the country would be working overtime. No political party would be safe to keep minutes of any meeting in case they were later read and misunderstood,' he said.

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