Lawyers to figure in Westminster hearing

The Westminster corruption hearings kicked off this week with district auditor John Magill announcing that solicitor Matthew Ives would be expected to explain his involvement in the housing policy. Ives, former legal head at Westminster City Council, was not included in the auditor's provisional list of those accused of gerrymandering. But at the start of the first day's hearing, Magill said two more councillors and three officers, including Ives, would be expected to explain themselves. The role of Freshfields partner Robert Lewis, Westminster's former deputy solicitor and implicated in Magill's provisional report, will also be examined in the six-week inquiry. Andrew Arden QC, who opened the case for the Westminster Objectors, said there had been a breakdown in democracy. “We are talking about gerrymandering. In a nutshell, bribery of the electorate and corruption by officers for political and personal gain.”