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Ex-minister jailed over expenses

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Elliot Morley has become the first former minister to be jailed for cheating his expenses

Elliot Morley has become the first former minister to be jailed for cheating his expenses

Elliot Morley has become the first former minister to be jailed for cheating his expenses

Elliot Morley has become the first former minister to be jailed for cheating his expenses after a court sentenced him to 16 months in prison.

Morley, who was an environment minister when Labour was in power, pleaded guilty last month to claiming more than £30,000 in bogus mortgage payments.

He entered two guilty pleas for false accounting relating to his home in Winterton, near Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, between 2004 and 2007. Morley was sentenced at London's Southwark Crown Court.

A Labour Party spokesman said: "Elliot Morley had already been suspended from the Labour Party and following his custodial sentence he has now been excluded from the party."

Morley, who appeared flushed throughout the hearing, showed no emotion as the sentence was delivered.

The former Labour MP, the most high profile of a string of convictions since the expenses revelations rocked Westminster, pocketed £30,428 by claiming for a phantom mortgage and inflating the amount he was previously paying.

In total, he claimed £16,800 on a bogus mortgage and £15,200 after inflating the amount he was previously paying - for which he should have been entitled to only £1,572.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Saunders said Morley was guilty of "blatant dishonesty" and had "thrown away his good name and character".

He said: "I am satisfied from the nature of the mortgage transactions and the correspondence that the excessive claims were made deliberately and are not explicable even in part by oversight."

The prosecution overshadows a political career lasting more than 20 years. As MP for Scunthorpe since 1987, former teacher Morley was one of Labour's most prominent voices on agricultural issues and the environment.

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