Labour suspends MP facing charges of false accounting

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Indy Politics

A Labour MP was charged with false accounting yesterday over allegations that he dishonestly claimed more than £20,000 in expenses.

Eric Illsley, who has represented Barnsley Central since 1987 and was re-elected two weeks ago, was immediately suspended from the party – on the same day that he was sworn in to the new Parliament.

He became the fourth Labour MP to face criminal charges. The other three – David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Elliot Morley – stood down at the general election. The former Tory frontbencher, Lord Hanningfield, has been charged with making false travel allowance claims.

Mr Illsley faces three charges under the 1968 Theft Act. He is alleged to have dishonestly claimed council tax, service and maintenance charges, repairs and insurance and utilities bills on his second home in Kennington, south London, between 2005 and 2008.

Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "Having thoroughly reviewed a file of evidence we received from the Metropolitan Police on March 30 this year, we concluded there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring criminal charges against Eric Illsley MP."

Mr Illsley, 55, will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on 17 June. Alan Johnson, the former home secretary, said: "I'm very sad another Member of Parliament is going before the courts, but that's what needs to happen if the public prosecutor, the CPS, decides this is a criminal issue. It's right that it proceeds to court."