Denis MacShane is listed to be sentenced by Mr Justice Sweeney at Southwark Crown Court at 3pm today. The case for a custodial sentence is clear.
MacShane is guilty of false accounting, fiddling his expenses and defrauding taxpayers out of £12,900 in forged receipts. In November 2012 he was suspended from the Commons by the Standards and Privileges Committee, whose damning report concluded that his was “the gravest case which has come to us for adjudication”. MPs have gone down before, the authorities see MacShane as the worst of the lot.
They found that he:
- Claimed nearly £20,000 a year in expenses for an office based in the garage of his South Yorkshire home.
- Signed claims with a “nom de plume” purporting to come from a General Manager who did not in fact exist.
- Knowingly submitted nineteen false invoices over a period of four financial years which were plainly intended to deceive the Parliamentary expenses authorities.
- Claimed thousands of pounds for eight computers that got ‘lost’ or were taken by interns.
- Claimed £12,900 for invoices from his EPI slush fund. He didn’t provide a single receipt for payments.
MacShane abused his position as a public servant, forging receipts to deceive the authorities, costing the taxpayers and constituents he was supposed to serve thousands. It is true that MacShane has pleaded guilty – usually grounds for leniency – however he did so only after being charged and presented with the incontrovertible evidence of his forgeries. All of which he previously denied, spinning the most ludicrous cock and bull story. Mr Justice Sweeney should remind lawmakers that if they become lawbreakers the law will be unsparing. Only jail time will suffice…