MP Jim Devine 'devastated' over expenses charges

MP Jim Devine said today that he was "astonished and devastated" to be charged over his claims for parliamentary expenses.

The Labour MP for Livingston faces two charges under Section 17 of the Theft Act 1968 for false accounting.



Speaking at his home in Blackburn, West Lothian, today, Mr Devine said: "I am absolutely astonished and devastated at the decision that has been taken today.



"Two new charges have been brought, both of which are easily explained and both of which I'll be explaining in court."





The first count alleges that, between July 2008 and April 2009, Mr Devine dishonestly claimed £3,240 for cleaning services using false invoices.



The second count alleges that, in March 2009, Mr Devine dishonestly claimed £5,505 for stationery using false invoices.



Speaking moments after the announcement by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer, Mr Devine said: "I've just heard what the allegation is. I can't believe I have been treated in this way.



"I referred myself to the police and they've been through every single one of my receipts.



"Other people have paid money back. If there's a problem, and I don't think there is one, why wasn't I given the opportunity to pay it back?"



Mr Devine added: "I don't see how they can investigate without having questioned people related to this."



Asked about the prospect of facing a trial, he said: "I've just heard this, I'm devastated by this news.



"I know, from where I'm standing, I have no case to answer."







Mr Devine has already been barred from standing as a Labour candidate at the coming general election after questions were raised over his expenses claims.



It was alleged that he claimed from his constituency office budget for shelving which was apparently never installed at Labour Party premises in the constituency, near Edinburgh.



He was also alleged to have paid a further £2,157 for electrical work carried out on his London premises by a firm which had a false VAT number and a non-existent address.



A former psychiatric nurse, 56-year-old Mr Devine was Robin Cook's election agent and was selected to fight the by-election caused by the former Cabinet minister's sudden death in 2005.



After his arrival at Westminster he served as a parliamentary aide until resigning in protest at the decision to renew the UK's nuclear-armed Trident submarines.







Mr Devine said he had not been charged in relation to the shelving allegations.



The MP said: "I had some 13 witnesses to the shelving and other work and only one person involved in this was questioned."



He said he could not understand why he had been investigated and cleared previously but new allegations had been raised.



He continued: "There are now new allegations but I think I should have been told why by the House of Commons.



"If you look at the Legg report, I'm being questioned over two receipts that amounted to about £8,000.



"I don't understand why I was picked on."



Mr Devine added: "It's devastating and I fully expect to be cleared. I've got to consider, to discuss with my lawyers, how I'm going to react to this."



He stated: "I moved into this village not long after I was elected. I was told I could flip my house, I did not do that."



The MP, a former Unison official, referred to his trade union background and said: "I've always handed in receipts for expenses for stuff. I've tried to play by the book.



"I made a mistake with the shelving, I accept that. From my side I don't think I've done anything wrong.



"If I had done something wrong I would have allowed the police access to every receipt, to everything. I'm astonished."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Graphic and Motion Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you get a buzz from thinking up new ideas a...

Recruitment Genius: Media Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Female Care Worker

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This expanding, vibrant charity which su...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Supervisor & Advisor - Automotive

£16500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones