Former British MP Eric Illsley jailed over expenses

Last Updated: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 10:01

London: Former Labour MP Eric Illsley was jailed for 12 months on Thursday for dishonestly claiming GBP 14,500 in expenses.

His sentence came hours after another former Labour MP, Jim Devine, was found guilty of making false expense claims.

Illsley, 55, had represented Barnsley Central since 1987 before stepping down earlier this week.

He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London to three counts of false accounting relating to three years of parliamentary expenses claimed on his second home in the capital.

The claims were made for council tax, telephone bills, service charges, insurance and repairs at his second home in Kennington, south London.

"These offences were committed in breach of what was the high degree of trust placed in MPs by the authorities in the House of Commons only to make honest claims," judge Mr Justice Saunders said as he passed sentence.

"It is vital that people feel able to trust our legislators and their use of public funds," he added, the Press Association reported.

Devine was found guilty earlier in the day at the same court of making false expenses claims worth more than GBP 8,000 for printing and cleaning work that was never carried out.

Devine, 57, the first MP to stand trial after the parliamentary expenses scandal, was convicted on two charges of false accounting.

A jury cleared him of a third charge relating to GBP 360 of taxpayers` money that he sought to pay a cleaner.

The former union official and chairman of the Scottish Labour Party, who represented the town of Livingston, east of Edinburgh, was bailed and will be sentenced in four weeks.

Prosecutor Peter Wright said Devine asked a printing company to give him two invoices, worth GBP 2,400 and GBP 3,105, for work that had never been done. He submitted the "ghost orders" to Parliament`s fees office with similar false receipts for a cleaner.

Devine told the court he had been in dispute with his former office manager after he alleged she paid herself GBP 5,000 from his staffing allowance without his knowledge.

Devine said fellow MPs told him he could make claims for stationery and use that money to pay his staff.

Last month, former Labour MP David Chaytor was jailed for 18 months after admitting fraudulently claiming GBP 20,000.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, February 11, 2011 - 10:01

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