MP paid expenses in weeks before court

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DISGRACED former Barnsley MP Eric Illsley was paid more than £6,500 in the four weeks that he clung onto his seat after admitting fiddling his expenses.

Illsley, who was jailed in February for making fraudulent expenses claims worth £14,500, admitted his guilt on January 11 but refused to resign his parliamentary seat until February 8 - two days before he was sent to prison.

During that period he claimed £6,766 in expenses including £2,253 for photocopier hire and £19.95 for food and travel.

Details of his claims were released by the expenses watchdog in charge of the tough new system of parliamentary allowances introduced in the wake of last year’s scandal.

They said that Illsley had still been entitled to claim because he was an MP until he resigned.

There is no provision in the rules to claw the cash back.

Last month The Star revealed that Illsley claimed almost £2,000 in taxpayer-funded allowances in the two months before he admitted fraud.

The £1,965 he received in November and December, included more than £1,000 for hiring a photocopier and £48.53 for renting a mobile phone.

Illsley, of Westmoor Crescent, Pogmoor, Barnsley, was jailed for a year after admitting three counts of expenses fraud relating to his second home in London.

He was released after three months and is now serving the rest of his sentence under a home detention curfew.

On his release from jail he said he should never have been prosecuted, claiming he was not alone in making his expenses claims.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that only a handful of MPs were ever investigated,” he said.

“Anyone thinking ‘he’s a wrong ’un’ is not aware that lots of other MPs were in the same situation.”