Chaytor jailed over false expenses

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David Chaytor has been jailed for 18 months after making false expenses claims

Former Labour MP David Chaytor has been jailed for 18 months for making false Parliamentary expenses claims.

Chaytor, 61, became the first politician to be convicted and sentenced over the expenses scandal which has rocked Westminster.

He submitted bogus invoices to support claims totalling £22,650 for IT services and renting homes in London and his Bury North constituency.

But the properties were owned by him and his mother, and he did not pay out any of his own money, Southwark Crown Court in London heard.

Chaytor, of Lumbutts, Todmorden, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty last month to three counts of false accounting between November 2005 and January 2008.

The former MP is now facing a large legal bill for both his defence and the costs of bringing the prosecution against him.

Sentencing Chaytor, Mr Justice Saunders said the Parliamentary expenses scandal has “shaken public confidence in the legislature and angered the public”.

Chaytor made the false claims in order to “siphon off” public money to which he was not entitled, the court heard. But he has now repaid £19,237, more than the £18,350 he received from the House of Commons fees office based on his fraudulent claims. Chaytor submitted claims totalling £15,275 and was paid £12,925 for renting Flat 152, Hide Tower in Regency Street, Westminster, central London. But it turned out that he and his wife had bought the property in 1999, two years after he was first elected to Parliament, and paid off the mortgage on it in 2003.

In mitigation, James Sturman QC said Chaytor was a “broken man” who had already paid a “quite devastating price” for his actions. He said: “He accepts he has brought shame on himself, he has brought shame on his family and he has brought shame on Parliament.”

A Labour Party spokesman said: “David Chaytor had already been suspended from the Labour Party and following his custodial sentence he has now been excluded from the party.”

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