Fifth expenses politician in court

By staff

Barnsley Central MP Eric Illsley is set to appear in court today on expenses charges.

The Labour MP will appear before City of Westminster magistrates court for the first appearance of his case, which relates to false accounting charges.

He is unlikely to attempt to use parliamentary privilege to defend himself, as fellow Labour MPs Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine had sought to do.

A judge told the trio earlier this month they would have to stand trial as parliamentary privilege was not a valid defence.

Mr Illsley’s charges relate to expense claims totalling over £20,000.

The first charge alleges that Mr Illsley 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.

The Metropolitan police had handed his file over to the Crown Prosecution Service in March, before it was decided there was sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against the MP.

The fifth politician to face criminal charges in the wake of the expenses scandal is Paul White, known in parliament as Lord Hanningfield.