Disgraced MP jailed for expenses fiddle still has Commons pass

Jim Devine, who made £8,000 in false claims, is excused court costs because he is bankrupt

An former MP with a criminal conviction for defrauding the taxpayer over his expenses still has a pass that allows him access to the House of Commons, an investigation has revealed.

Jim Devine, who in March was jailed for 16 months for making more than £8,000 of false expense claims, is still on probation and has only just had his electronic tag removed after being released from prison in August.

But he is still allowed to book restaurants with family in the Palace of Westminster, meet MPs informally and bring guests into the House of Commons.

Jonathan Aitken, jailed in 1999 for perverting justice, is also on the list of former MPs with passes. He said he had had the pass for eight or nine years and used it to chair a committee on the rehabilitation of offenders.

The revelations will add to pressure to reform the system of ex-MPs' access to Westminster after an investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism for The Independent found about one in five of the 79 MPs who applied for Former Member Passes after the 2010 election now work for companies or organisations with an interest in lobbying.

Yesterday, it emerged that Devine would be unlikely to be able to repay thousands of pounds of court costs arising from his prosecution because he was bankrupt. The former Labour MPs David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Eric Illsley, however, were ordered to repay legal aid and prosecution costs after their convictions for fiddling their expenses.

Southwark Crown Court told Chaytor, 62, the ex-MP for Bury North, and Morley, a former Environment minister and Scunthorpe MP, to each pay prosecution costs of £23,176. Illsley, the ex-MP for Barnsley Central, must repay £12,178. No orders were made against Devine, 58, former Labour MP for Livingston. The prosecution of the former MP Margaret Moran is unlikely to go ahead after a court heard she was "unfit to plead". Jim Sturman, QC, for Moran, said: "These proceedings are a continual threat to her life, not just to her liberty, and the experts agree that she is unfit to plead."

Last night, the Labour MP John Mann, who has campaigned for reform of the system, said: "This just underlines the case that the whole system needs to be reformed. These passes reinforce the image of the Commons as a gentleman's club and that undermines our democracy."

Devine could not be reached for comment.

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments