Former MPs must repay legal aid
Former MPs David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Eric Illsley have been landed with massive bills to repay legal aid and prosecution costs following their convictions for fiddling their expenses.
A judge at Southwark Crown Court ordered that Chaytor, 62, former MP for Bury North, and Morley, a former environment minister and ex-Scunthorpe MP, should each pay prosecution costs of £23,176, with Illsley, ex-MP for Barnsley Central, ordered to pay £12,178.
Morley, 59, was ordered to pay £33,005 legal aid costs, with Chaytor ordered to pay £23,036 and Illsley, 56, told to pay £10,909.
No orders were made against Jim Devine, 58, former Labour MP for Livingston, after the court was told that he was bankrupt.
"In the case of Devine different considerations apply. He is bankrupt," Mr Justice Saunders said. "It seems unlikely that he will have anything left by the time all his debts are paid off."
Mr Justice Saunders said in his ruling: "At a time when there is concern at the size of legal aid expenditure, there is no reason in principle why the taxpayer should pay for the legal representation of people who can afford to pay for themselves."
Chaytor, of Lumbutts, Todmorden, was sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to false accounting totalling £18,350.
Devine, of West Main Street, Bathgate, West Lothian, was jailed for 16 months in May for submitting false invoices totalling £8,385 between 2008 and 2009.
Illsley, of Westmoor Crescent, Pogmoor, Barnsley, received a 12-month sentence in February for £14,500-worth of fraudulent expenses relating to claims made for his second home between 2005 and 2008.
Morley, of West Street, Winterton, Lincolnshire, was jailed for 16 months in May for fiddling his Parliamentary expenses to the tune of £30,000.