Page last updated at 14:42 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 15:42 UK

Labour MP charged over expenses

Eric Illsley
Eric Illsley will appear before magistrates next month

MP Eric Illsley has been charged with false accounting over his expenses and suspended by the Labour Party.

He is accused of dishonestly claiming £20,000 in council tax and other bills on his second home in London.

The Barnsley Central MP will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on 17 June.

Three former Labour MPs and an ex Tory peer have already been charged under the Theft Act over their expenses claims - all deny wrongdoing.

Announcing Mr Illsley's suspension from the Labour Party, a spokesman said: "The Labour Party's general secretary has issued Eric Illsley with a suspension following the CPS's announcement of criminal charges against him.

"As a result, Eric Illsley has been suspended from the Whip and cannot attend any Labour Party meeting. This was felt necessary in light of the criminal charges."

Decision

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

He said Mr Illsley faced three charges under section 17 of the Theft Act 1968 for false accounting.

"The first charge alleges that Mr Illsley dishonestly claimed expenses in relation to council tax, service and maintenance charges, repairs and insurance charges, and utilities and communications charges for his second home in Renfrew Road, London, between May 2005 and April 2006.

"The second charge relates to the same claims between May 2006 and April 2007, and the third charge relates to the same claims between May 2007 and April 2008.

"In total the charges allege a sum in excess of £20,000 was dishonestly claimed over this three year period."

Evidence files on eight politicians have now been handed to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision to be made on whether to charge them.

Five people have been charged, two cases have been dropped and one further file is still under consideration by the CPS.

Prosecutors have said a decision will be made on the the one outstanding case "in due course".

Mr Starmer added: "Mr Illsley now stands charged with criminal offences and has the right to a fair trial.

"It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice his trial."

All the men charged in relation to expenses have denied wrongdoing.



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