No Guardian column for ex-con Denis MacShane, so he’s publishing his prison diaries instead. Readers will have nothing but sympathy for the crook who spent Christmas Day in the clink:
9.50am: My door opens and a screw barks, ‘Catholic service…’ The mass is brisk and to the point.
To my surprise, Asil Nadir reads one of the lessons. I vaguely know his story as the Polly Peck tycoon who gave hundreds of thousands to the Conservative Party in the 1980s then went back to his native Turkish Cyprus where he avoided extradition after his company went bust.
I chat briefly to him afterwards. He has read about my case and shrugs his shoulder as if to say, ‘British politics, what do you expect?’
It’s a time to shower, to make a phone call, play pool, clean out your cell, fill in forms and chat. Officers can allow it to run for up to two hours or just thirty minutes.
More than anything, I want to call my children, Laura and Benjamin, and my partner Vicky. But there is only one phone for 80 prisoners on the spur.
I wonder if any Prison Minister knows what it is like when you cannot say happy Christmas to your children.
At the final meal of the day. I opted for a half-chicken – a special for Christmas – only to be told all the chickens had gone. In other words, the servers had given the half-chicken to their mates.
Instead it was two thin slices of industrial turkey. At least there was a tiny cocktail sausage with a bit of bacon and a smidgen of stuffing.
The heart bleeds…
Out. Thanks to Sir K and Sir K and SIr N for 6 fascinating humbling weeks and to the 100s who sent letters. Sorry journo pals. No interviews
— Denis MacShane (@DenisMacShane) February 7, 2014
Convicted fraudster MacShane was sentenced to six months in prison for defrauding taxpayers of £13,000 in forged receipts. He has served just six weeks. The law should be unsparing when lawmakers become lawbreakers – is this really justice?
UPDATE: MacShane is now comparing himself to Corrie star Bill Roache, found not guilty of sex offences yesterday. The difference: Roache was cleared of all charges and MacShane is a convicted fraudster.
The thing about MacShane is that although he was convicted for defrauding taxpayers’ of £13,000, the true figure was in the hundreds of thousands.
Read all Guido’s stories about Denis MacShane, bon viveur, europhile extraordinaire and convicted fraudster. Now eating porridge.
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:
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…
Guido has been hunting MacShane for years. Well today the disgraced former Labour MP finally had the decency to plead guilty to false accounting, admitting £12,900 worth of fraudulent expenses. MacShame signed his own death warrant in May 2010, when he brazenly wrote a piece for the Standard giving his top ten tips for new ministers on how to milk the benefits of high office.
In October 2010, Guido broke the news that MacShane had been kicked out of the Labour Party over suspected fraud. He had claimed £125,000 in constituency office costs for his own garage. The cops investigated and his file was handed to the CPS, with MacShane overheard crying: “Joan is leaving me and I’m going to jail”. He thought he had got away with it when the police investigation into him was dropped in 2012. His staff gave him a cake to welcome him back to the fold that included jail breaking files. He may have got lucky striking up an unlikely romance with Vicky Pryce, but that luck was about to run out.
MacShame’s reprieve only lasted a few months. 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”. Labour said his career was over. A new complaint was made to the police by a Paul Staines of the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics, the cops reopened their investigation, his file was one again handed to the CPS and this time MacShane was charged. Justice may have been delayed, but today MacShane pleaded guilty. Gotcha!
Good of Denis MacShane to turn up at the Old Bailey this morning, rather than, say, go on holiday like last time. Accused of submitting 19 bogus invoices worth £12,900, he will enter a plea on November 18. His trial in front of Mr Justice Sweeney, of Huhne fame, will provisionally take place on May 6 next year. Just in time for the local and European elections…