Thursday, February 10, 2011

Former Labour MP Eric Illsley gets a year in jail, sentenced for dishonestly claiming parliamentary expenses, prison becoming popular with politicians

Dear All

Former Labour MP Eric Illsley has been given a year's jail sentence for dishonestly claiming parliamentary expenses.

Given the amount of Labour people in the clink, maybe they could start a branch!

Illsley, 55, pleaded guilty to £14,000 of expenses fraud last month.

He becomes the second former MP, after fellow Labour colleague David Chaytor, to be jailed for expenses offences.

Mr Justice Saunders who has a track record of jailing members of the Labour Party who have been MPs said Illsley had breached the "high degree of trust" placed in MPs by the public.

Passing sentence, Justice Saunders said Illsley bore a "small but significant" responsibility for the erosion of public trust in Parliament.

Saunders said:

"The commission of the offences which came to light as a result of the police investigation into parliamentary expenses has tarnished the reputation of politicians and Parliament."

Illsley received a shorter sentence than David Chaytor because Justice Saunders said Illsley's offences were less serious as they involved smaller loss to the public purse and Illsley had not created "false documents to support the claims".

I suspect more to do with the fact there was not false documents rather than the cash sums involved.

His lawyers had asked for a suspended sentence, acknowledging the publicity surrounding the case had "shamed" Illsley but arguing he was a "good man".

No chance but worth a try.

William Coker QC Acting for Illsley said:

"Mr Illsley accepts that, for this case, a sentence of imprisonment is inevitable. These convictions have, of course, ruined him. At his age, he sees very limited opportunities to make something of his life but he accepts, as he must, that ruin is what he deserves."

If Mike Watson can start again, I am sure that Eric Illsley can find something too.

Illsley stood down as an MP before sentencing, his resignation will trigger a by-election in the Barnsley Central constituency which he represented.

He first entered Parliament in 1987.

After the scandal broke, he was suspended by Labour after being charged last year and subsequently sat as an independent.

Since then he has taken the ceremonial post of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham the traditional way of resigning from Parliament.

Had it all and destroyed everything.

The public ask one thing, when in public office, behave yourself, they will accept mistakes; accidents happen but not breach of trust to this degree.

A year in prison, a terrible end to public life!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

No comments: