Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Shamed MPs kept claiming expenses

Former Labour MP David Chaytor kept claiming parliamentary expenses even after being charged with fiddling the system
Jim Devine continued to claim for expenses despite being charged with fiddling the system

Shamed former Labour MPs David Chaytor and Jim Devine kept claiming parliamentary expenses even after they had been charged with fiddling the system, it has been revealed.

Chaytor, who is now serving an 18-month jail term, put in bills for hundreds of pounds in subsistence and mortgage interest. Devine, who is waiting to be sentenced, also received money for household costs such as utility bills.

The claims for living costs came after February 5 last year, when both men were charged with false accounting, and continued until just weeks before the general election. Both men were barred from standing as Labour candidates after the allegations of abuses emerged.

The spending was disclosed in new details of expenses published by the House of Commons.

On February 18, Chaytor put in a claim for £525 in subsistence. No receipts were required because MPs could claim a flat rate of £25 per night. The same day he asked for £334.96 in mortgage interest and on March 3 he charged £109 for a gas bill.

The former member for Bury North was subsequently convicted of filing thousands of pounds worth of bogus invoices and claiming rent for a home he actually owned.

Devine put in for £775 in subsistence last March and another £283.22 in assorted bills and other costs. The data show that he even kept claiming after Parliament was dissolved for the election and he had officially stopped being MP for Livingston. On April 16 he claimed £166.55 for a property service charge and £38.16 for council tax.

Last month Devine was found guilty of providing false invoices for cleaning and printing work totalling more than £8,300. He has since been declared bankrupt.

TaxPayers' Alliance spokeswoman Emma Boon said: "It beggars belief that Chaytor and Devine had the audacity to continue to submit expenses claims after they had been charged.

"This revelation is a slap in the face to taxpayers whose money they wrongly took. This disgraced pair clearly had no shame."

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