MP 'forged expenses to clear his overdraft'

The former Labour MP Jim Devine submitted false invoices on his parliamentary expenses to clear his £2,400 overdraft, a court was told yesterday.

Mr Devine, the former MP for Livingston, is on trial for falsely claiming almost £9,000 from the public purse. He is alleged to have submitted five false invoices for cleaning and maintenance work at his London flat.

None of the work was carried out and when confronted, Mr Devine tried to blame a secretary who the former MP claimed was trying to frame him, the prosecution said.

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting counsel, told jurors at Southwark Crown Court in London that the case against Mr Devine was "very straight forward" and that the former MP made the expenses claims "with a view to gain for himself, or with an intent to cause loss to another: the public purse". Mr Devine, 57, denies two counts of false accounting. The case continues.