Ex-MP faces expenses scam sentence

Disgraced former Labour MP Eric Illsley faces a possible prison term when he is sentenced for fiddling his expenses.

Illsley, 55, was under massive pressure to stand down as the member for Barnsley Central after he pleaded guilty last month to dishonestly claiming some £14,500 of public money.

But he did not quit as an MP until Tuesday night, and is believed to have received about £5,400 from his £65,000-a-year parliamentary salary since admitting the offences.

Illsley became the first sitting MP convicted for abusing expenses when he changed his pleas to guilty at the start of his trial on January 11.

He had previously denied dishonestly claiming a total of more than £25,000, arguing that lax Commons allowances were designed to "supplement" the income of politicians. But his barrister William Coker QC said his client admitted wrongly obtaining a revised sum of about £14,500.

Illsley, of Westmoor Crescent, Pogmoor, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to three charges of false accounting relating to three years of expenses on his London property.

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

Despite the questions hanging over his expenses, Illsley was re-elected last May with a majority of more than 11,000. He could theoretically have stayed on as a MP with a jail term of less than 12 months.

However, following calls for him to go from both Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband, he expressed "deep regret" over his actions and said he would quit before the court decided his fate.

The by-election for Illsley's Barnsley Central seat is expected to be held on March 3

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