Former Labour MP David Chaytor has admitted fraudulently claiming Parliamentary expenses.
He became the first politician to get a criminal conviction in connection with the expenses scandal when he pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to three charges of false accounting.
Chaytor, 61, had previously denied the charges and was due to stand trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court on Monday.
But he changed his plea on Friday at the Old Bailey. The move came after legal challenges to stop the trial failed.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court published its reasons for rejecting a claim by Chaytor and two other former MPs that criminal proceedings against them would infringe parliamentary privilege.
Chaytor was MP for Bury North, a seat he had held since 1997, when the expenses scandal broke last year. At the time, he apologised “unreservedly” for what he called an “unforgivable error in my accounting procedures”.
He referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, John Lyon, and was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party. Hundreds of MPs were ordered to repay a total of £1.12 million in the wake of the expenses scandal.
Chaytor, a former lecturer, was charged in February this year. He faces a maximum of seven years in jail, but is expected to receive a more lenient sentence because of his guilty plea. Three other former MPs and two members of the House of Lords were also charged by police in relation to their expenses and are due to face trial later.
Chaytor pleaded guilty to false accounting involving a total of £18,350 which he charged on his expenses.
He had claimed £12,925 between 2005 and 2006 for renting a flat in Regency Street, near Westminster, which it turned out he owned the lease to. He produced a tenancy agreement falsely showing he was paying £1,175 a month rent. He also falsely claimed between 2007 and 2008 £5,425 for renting a home in Castle Street, Bury, which was owned by his mother. He had produced a false tenancy agreement showing he was paying £775 a month.