The BBC reports that the three ex-Labour MPs facing trial over allegations of false accounting will go to the Supreme Court, to argue that the criminal courts do not have jurisdiction to hear their cases.

The Court of Appeal ruled on this issue in July. The appellant MPs and Lord had argued that that criminal proceedings against them were precluded by parliamentary privilege, following charges of false accounting contrary to the Theft Act 1968, s 17(1)(b) (for fraudulently submitting claims for the payment of expenses).

The appellants submitted that claims for expenses constituted proceedings in Parliament pursuant to Art 9 of the Bill of Rights 1688 and that privilege should attach to any dealing that a member might have with the House. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal holding that the submission of a claim for expenses had nothing to do with the need to ensure the member was able to speak freely in the House without fear, nor did it involve the exercise of their “essential” functions or “core activities”. It followed that the appellants’ claims for expenses amounted to ordinary criminal activities, and privilege did not extend to criminal proceedings against members of Parliament.

A panel of nine Justices will hear the application on 18 or 19 October.