South Yorks MP admits fiddling expenses - VIDEO

ERIC Illsley today became the first sitting MP to be convicted of expenses fraud when he admitted dishonestly claiming more than £14,000.

The member for Barnsley Central was due to stand trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.

But he changed his pleas on three charges of false accounting relating to three years of expenses claimed on his second home in London.

On Friday, former Labour MP David Chaytor became the first person to be jailed over the expenses scandal.

He was sentenced to 18 months after admitting he forged tenancy documents and invoices to falsely claim more than 22,000 of taxpayers' money for rent and IT work from House of Commons authorities.

Illsley had previously denied dishonestly claiming a total of more than 25,000.

But today his barrister William Coker QC said his client admitted wrongly claiming a revised sum of about 14,500.

The claims were made for council tax, telephone usage, service charges and maintenance, and insurance and repairs at his second home in Renfrew Road, Kennington, south London.

In a five-minute hearing, the disgraced MP sat in the dock rubbing his face and frowning.

He spoke only to confirm his pleas, saying 'guilty' to the three charges.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said the Crown accepted the revised figure for the dishonest claims.

The judge Mr Justice Saunders adjourned the hearing for four weeks for a pre-sentence report.

Illsley, of Westmoor Crescent, Pogmoor, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was suspended from the Labour Party following the allegations and sits as an independent after being re-elected in May's general election.

If he receives a sentence of 12 months or more he will be disqualified as an MP under the Representation of the People Act 1981.

The seat would be vacated and a by-election held.

Simon Clements, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said after the hearing: "This was a significant sum of money and the grossly inflated claims he submitted could not be attributed to an oversight or accounting error - indeed he claimed that the expenses system was a way of supplementing Members' salaries.

"By his guilty pleas he has accepted that he was dishonest in making these claims.

"As an elected representative, Eric Illsley took advantage of the trust placed in him by his constituents to act honourably on their behalf.

"Instead, he siphoned off public money into his own pockets and betrayed those who rightly expected the highest standards of integrity from him as a Member of Parliament."

The MP left court alone and refused to answer reporters' questions.

As sentencing was adjourned for reports, his QC told Mr Justice Saunders that Illsley's wife Dawn is ill.

He did not specify what was wrong with her.

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