Ex-MP 'fiddled stationary orders'


Former Labour MP Jim Devine arrives at Southwark Crown Court, where he denies fiddling his parliamentary expenses

A former Labour MP accused of fiddling his parliamentary expenses asked a stationery company to confirm he had paid for orders when he never did so, a jury has been told.

Jim Devine allegedly requested that invoices be stamped to say money had been “received with thanks” before the orders were paid for.

The 57-year-old, who was MP for Livingston, is on trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court accused of falsely claiming almost £9,000 from the public purse.

Jennifer McCrea, the retired secretary of Armstrong Printing Limited in Clackmannanshire, said on one occasion Devine said his request was “a matter of urgency”.

She said customers often asked for an invoice to be “receipted”, as confirmation a payment had been made. This was indicated on the paperwork by the words “received with thanks” being stamped on it. But she said Devine made his request before any money was paid or the printing job was done.

She told the court about a telephone conversation the former Labour MP, who had an account at the firm, made to her in March 2009.

“He was asking for an invoice for future work,” she said. “He asked for it to be made out for around £2,400. There was no detail for what actually was going to be printed.

“He asked for it to be receipted. If someone asks for a receipted invoice they want acknowledgement that that particular invoice has been paid.”

She said she could not process his request, so passed it on to the company director, Billy Lochie.

Devine, of West Main Street, Bathgate, West Lothian, denies two charges of false accounting.

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