Eric Illsley, the first sitting MP to face criminal charges over the expenses scandal, was sentenced to a year in prison yesterday – 24 hours after it was confirmed he had finally quit Parliament. On the same day, the former Labour MP Jim Devine was convicted of fiddling his Commons expenses. He will be sentenced in about four weeks.
Illsley pleaded guilty in Southwark Crown Court last month to £14,000 worth of expenses fraud over three years, in relation to his second homes allowance.
The shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, was in Mr Illsley's former seat of Barnsley Central yesterday to kick off Labour candidate Dan Jarvis's campaign in the by-election, which will be held on 3 March. It was revealed yesterday that the Conservatives asked the former England cricketer Darren Gough to be their candidate, but he turned them down.
Mr Devine was convicted of using fake receipts to claim more than £8,000 worth of expenses.