Former Rotherham MP’s diaries on jail time

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Jailed former Rotherham MP Denis MacShane has told how he felt someone “had it in for me” after he spent six weeks in high-security Belmarsh prison.

Mr MacShane, who represented the town for Labour until he stood down in 2012, was given a six-month jail sentence for making bogus expenses claims worth £12,900.

In a diary of his time behind bars, published in The Mail on Sunday, he spoke of how he was locked up alongside gangsters and killers before he was moved to Brixton prison rather than doing his time in an open jail like other politicians have.

And he revealed that jailed Polly Peck tycoon and former Conservative Party donor Asil Nadir read the lesson to fellow-inmates at the Christmas Day church service inside the south-east London jail.

In his diaries, Mr MacShane complains of being denied writing implements and access to phones in jail and being fed “industrial turkey (and) a tiny cocktail sausage with a bit of bacon and a smidgen of stuffing” for Christmas dinner.

And he said that at both Belmarsh and Brixton jails, warders initially addressed him as Ian McShane - perhaps muddling him up with the Lovejoy and Deadwood actor.

Mr MacShane pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for ‘research and translation’ services and was jailed two days before Christmas.

He was freed six weeks into a six month sentence earlier this year.

In his diaries, he says that fellow-inmates were “baffled” that he should be locked up alongside them, given the scale of his offence.

And he says he told lags about the methods used by other MPs to rack up far larger sums through their expenses claims while remaining within the rules in force at the time, concluding: “Dear, oh dear, why didn’t I claim my expenses like other profiteering MPs?”