Ex-MP David Chaytor faces jail over false expenses claims

A former Labour MP is facing jail after becoming the first politician to have a conviction for making false Parliamentary expenses claims.





David Chaytor pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey today to three charges of false accounting amounting to more than £18,000.



One of the charges related to allowance claims for rent he paid to a woman for a house in Castle Street, Bury, Lancs.



But the woman was his mother, who was in a home and suffering from Alzheimer's.



She was never paid the money and has subsequently died.



Chaytor, 61, of Lumbutts, Todmorden, West Yorkshire, had been MP for Bury North since 1997, when the MPs' expenses scandal broke last year. He was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party.



He was remanded on bail to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on January 7.



Chaytor, a former lecturer who is married and has three children, faces up to seven years in jail but his guilty pleas mean the judge can reduce his sentence by a third.







Chaytor had pleaded not guilty to the charges in May - but changed his pleas today. He had been due to stand trial on Monday.



The dramatic change came as legal moves to have the case dismissed came to an unsuccessful end.



He had claimed he should not be prosecuted because of Parliamentary privilege, but this was rejected by the Supreme Court.



Chaytor stood in the dock of Court 11 with his hands crossed and his head tilted as he answered "guilty" to each count.



Chaytor admitted false accounting involving a total of £18,350 which he charged on his expenses.



He claimed £12,925 between November 2005 and September 2006 for renting a flat in Regency Street, near Westminster, which it turned out he owned.



A fake tenancy agreement said he was paying £1,175 a month rent.



He also falsely claimed between September 2007 and January 2008, some £5,425 for renting his mother's house at £775 a month.



He admitted he was not paying his mother and would not have been allowed to claim for leasing a property from a family member.



A third charge related to falsely charging £1,950 for IT support services in May 2006. That money was never paid to him.



The charge said that he supplied two invoices from a man named Paul France "when in fact the services had not been provided or charged for".



His QC James Sturman told the judge, Mr Justice Saunders: "There are many misconceptions about the case which we will wish to put right on January 7.



"Obviously he accepts this is a serious matter. There is no loss to the public purse. Any sums claimed have been, or will be, repaid."



Mr Sturman said £13,000 had already been paid.



He asked for a pre-sentence report and said he expected to call character witnesses during the sentencing hearing.



He said there had so far been "a total failure to reflect that his case reflects appropriate claims gone about in the wrong way".



Mr Sturman said: "There was some entitlement in his case but he did it in such a way which he concedes by his plea of guilty."



The judge allowed reporting of the case saying: "This is a matter of intense public interest."



He added that the case was "entirely separate" to other impending trials involving parliamentary expenses.



Chaytor left court without commenting. He was mobbed by photographers as he got into a taxi with his legal team.



Later, Simon Clements, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "David Chaytor has admitted his dishonesty and will now face the consequences of his actions.



"No-one, no matter what their position, should be allowed to take money they are not entitled to.



"By his actions David Chaytor has abused the trust placed in him by the public."



Chaytor was also condemned by his former constituents in Bury.



Standing beside the monument of Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern policing, who was born in the town, Brian Birkett, 38, an out-of-work builder, said: "He's gone from being quite well thought of to nothing more than a criminal."



Hundreds of MPs were ordered to repay a total of £1.12 million in the wake of the expenses scandal.



Others due to face separate trials involving their expenses are former Scunthorpe Labour MP Elliot Morley, former Labour MP for Livingston Jim Devine, former Barnsley Central Labour MP Eric Illsley, Tory peer Lord Hanningfield and Lord Taylor of Warwick, a former Tory peer.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project