Tuesday 22 August 2017

Labour leader calls on expenses-row MP to resign

James Tapsfield in London

A Disgraced British MP was facing demands for his immediate resignation last night after admitting dishonestly claiming £14,000 (€16,843) in parliamentary expenses.

Labour leader Ed Miliband insisted Eric Illsley, the member for Barnsley Central, should do the "right thing" and go voluntarily after it emerged he could keep his job and salary even if a jail term is imposed.

Mr Illsley became the first sitting member convicted for abusing expenses when he changed his pleas to guilty at the start of his trial. He had previously denied dishonestly claiming a total of more than £25,000 (€30,075), arguing that lax Commons allowances were designed to "supplement" the income of politicians.

But his barrister William Coker QC said his client admitted wrongly obtaining a revised sum of about £14,500 (€17,441).

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

In a five-minute hearing, the disgraced MP, who has already been suspended by the Labour Party, sat in the dock rubbing his face and frowning.

He spoke only to confirm his pleas, saying "guilty" to the three charges of false accounting relating to three years of expenses on his second home in London.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said the Crown accepted the revised figure for the dishonest claims.

The judge adjourned the hearing for four weeks for a pre-sentence report.

Mr Illsley left court alone and refused to answer questions from journalists.

Irish Independent

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