When someone falls from grace in politics it sometimes can be rather sad.
Someone who had everything and messed it all up by their own hand, greed isn’t a particularly good trait to have in politics.
Ex-Labour MP Denis MacShane has pleaded guilty to false accounting over parliamentary expenses.
Like many Labour MPs before him, he went to Court and during a hearing at the Old Bailey in London admitted false accounting by putting in fake receipts for £12,900 of "research and translation" services.
He should be looking at 18 months in prison.
The former Europe minister used the money to fund trips to the continent, I like Europe, who doesn’t but let us get right, if you want to potter about the place; then use your salary.
After getting found guilty, sentencing was adjourned until 19 December and he gets the traditional unconditional bail to get his affairs in order.
Mr Justice Sweeney told MacShane, 65, that "all sentencing options remain open".
What does that mean?
Well that is the polite way of saying; he is fucked and looking at doing time!
The maximum sentence for false accounting is seven years but it is doubtful he will get anywhere near that figure.
Denis MacShane was an MP for 18 years, entering Parliament in a by-election in 1994; you would expect that he should have known better, he was also a Government Minister that should have guaranteed he should have known better.
For some MPs, expenses were treated like a ‘second salary’ because the public wouldn’t stomach pay raises for MPs. An MPs salary is pretty decent compared to ordinary people’s wages, and you can get expenses as well.
If you have any doubt why it should be prison; then remember he admitted filing 19 fraudulent invoices between January 2005 and January 2008.
Four MPs and two peers have been sent to prison as a result of the expenses revelations from 2009.
It is a scandal that keeps on running; one other interesting case was Labour MP Margaret Moran; she was given a supervision order instead after suffering mental health problems.
Apparently we were paying expenses so she could get shagged in Southampton by her partner.
I sometimes wish I worked in the Expenses Office at Westminster, so I could have lively discussions with MPs on why they aren’t getting some of their claims passed.
Personally MacShane deserves 3 years in prison but he might get away with a lower sentence due to his age and the precedent that no one has gone beyond 18 months.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University