Fourth Labour MP faces expenses charges

Eric Illsley faces expenses charges
Eric Illsley faces expenses charges

By Alex Stevenson

Labour MP Eric Illsley faces false accounting charges which allege he dishonestly claimed over £20,000 in parliamentary expenses.

The Barnsley Central MP joins three Labour MPs - Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine - who have already appeared in court following exposes of their parliamentary allowances claims.

"The Labour party's general secretary has issued Eric Illsley with a suspension following the Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) announcement of criminal charges against him," a Labour spokesperson said.

"As a result, Eric Illsley has been suspended from the Whip and cannot attend any Labour party meeting. This was felt necessary in light of the criminal charges."

Mr Illsley stands accused of three charges under section 17 of the Theft Act. He will appear before Westminster magistrates court on June 17th.

"Having thoroughly reviewed a file of evidence we received from the Metropolitan police on March 13th this year, we concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal charges against Eric Illsley MP," the director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer said.

The first charge alleges that Mr IIlsley dishonestly claimed expenses in relation to council tax, service and maintenance charges, repairs and insurance charges, and utilities and communications charges for his second home in Renfrew Road, London, between May 2005 and April 2006.

The second charge relates to the same claims between May 2006 and April 2007. The third charge relates to the same claims between May 2007 and April 2008.

Mr Illsley's majority slipped below 50% in the general election but he retained a majority of over 11,000, suggesting reports in the Telegraph newspaper about his claims had not had a major impact on his appeal.

The news came as deputy prime minister Nick Clegg gave a speech on new politics. Westminster is seeking to move on from the expenses scandal, which blighted the final year of the last parliament.


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