Mrs Illsley Loses Job Too

A quick peek at the as-of-yet updated Register of Members Interests shows it was a double resignation blow in the Illsley household last week. With Eric pocketing five grand by remaining in office right up until his sentencing, presumably Dawn got an extra month of pay too:

ILLSLEY, Eric (Barnsley Central)

I employ my wife, Dawn Illsley, as Secretarial Assistant.

Plenty of time for Mrs Illsley to visit Wormwood Scrubs now though…

Devine Retribution

Jim Devine has just been found guilty of two counts of false accounting. A real wrong ‘un finally getting justice.

It was Paul Hutcheon at the Herald that got the scoop, The Sunlight Centre who put the boot in:

 

and Krishnan Guru-Murthy who put the final nail in the coffin:

[vodpod id=Video.2995771&w=480&h=400&fv=videoId%3D65071037001%26amp%3BplayerId%3D1184614595%26amp%3BviewerSecureGatewayURL%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fconsole.brightcove.com%2Fservices%2Famfgateway%26amp%3BservicesURL%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fservices.brightcove.com%2Fservices%26amp%3BcdnURL%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fadmin.brightcove.com%26amp%3Bdomain%3Dembed%26amp%3BautoStart%3Dfalse%26amp%3B]

Guido will be down there in four weeks for the sentencing. See you there.

Illsley's Golden Goodbye

Eric Illsley finally thought fit to quit the House of Commons last night, displacing that naughty Mrs Robinson as Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds. The disgraced member for Barnsley is getting sent down on Thursday after being found guilty of a £14,000 fiddle. Some might think he should have been thrown out of the House immediately, indeed 2,000 signed a petition demanding just that, but by staying on for these last 29 days the convicted thief has managed to trouser an extra £5,223 from the victims of his crimes.

Nearly half of what he had to pay back after his artistic accounting…

Devine Intervention

Guido questioned the notion of a “friendly printer” in terms of the expenses fraud last week. Devine claims he was told by other MPs to get a “friendly printer” to produce a fake invoice to facilitate his dodgy accounting practices. No wonder Amstrong Printing Ltd were happy to help – their Director Margaret Brisley is a on Stirling Council, for Labour. All good friends…

Friendly Printers

Tom Watson has been in Court today as a witness in Jim Devine’s fraud trial,  The Telegraph reports that Devine alleges that Watson and Labour whip Steven McCabe told him when “merry” in the Strangers Bar that he could take money from his office allowance to resolve his staffing problems. All he would need is a “friendly printers” to knock up the receipts. Not an excuse in law and both men deny the conversation ever happened, but it was the mention of “friendly printers” that got Guido thinking. What is a “friendly printer”?

Surely an organisation that was run by former Labour staffers and with a willingness to send differently worded invoices for the same product must be a “friendly printer”. Public Impact Printers are a “friendly printer” who were so helpful to the current Shadow Justice Secretary. Chris Huhne knows a thing or two about “friendly printers” too. Especially that one based in the same building as his constituency office.

+ + + Jim Devine Pleads Not Guilty + + +

Two counts of false accounting. Trial to last a week.

UPDATE: After an excellent investigation by the Herald’s investigations chief Paul Hutcheon it was the Sunlight Centre that got the ball rolling:

UPDATE II: Sky and the BBC are both tweeting live from the court.

UPDATE III: The judge just told the jury not to search the internet about the case. Despite what Guido said about Krishnan in the last post, this was no doubt his finest hour:

[vodpod id=Video.2995771&w=480&h=400&fv=videoId%3D65071037001%26amp%3BplayerId%3D1184614595%26amp%3BviewerSecureGatewayURL%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fconsole.brightcove.com%2Fservices%2Famfgateway%26amp%3BservicesURL%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fservices.brightcove.com%2Fservices%26amp%3BcdnURL%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fadmin.brightcove.com%26amp%3Bdomain%3Dembed%26amp%3BautoStart%3Dfalse%26amp%3B]

Guido imagines the interview will be played by the prosecution. And that’s all he has to say on the matter.

Latham and the Libyans

On the day it is revealed by Wikileaks that a government minister gave the Libyans advice on how to secure Al-Megrahi’s release and Gus O’Donnell announces he is opening up the files, it seems the the Guidoisation of politics is continuing.

Tory backbencher Pauline Latham asked the House earlier whether the government had any plans to start sending British cancer patients for treatment in Libya “given their higher survival rate”. Clearly a fan of Guy New’s Al Megrahi Watch. Fifteen months and counting since the beaks said he would die.

 

Learned Lord Taylor Testifies

Guido noted on Monday that troughing Lord Taylor’s defence looks set to be “bigger boys told me to do it”, and he has shored up that position on the stand. Via Anna Adams, who is tweeting live from the court room, we are getting a blow by blow account of testimony. Taylor told the jury that he was under the impression “expenses” were not a reimbursement but an “allowance in lieu of a salary” and that the Lords was a place for the “retired and rich”, something he was not.

It sounds to Guido that in making excuses to justify his claims, the learned Lord is actually digging himself a hole…

UPDATE: Taylor claims Black Rod was aware of the situation and said: “we muddle along but it works”. Outrageous if true, but he must still have known he was in the wrong…

Lord Taylor's Playground Defence

Lord Taylor’s claims were connected to a residence in Oxford – an address the prosecution say he never stayed at and doesn’t own. This is conceded by his barrister who says John Taylor was told by another senior peer that his claims were ‘acceptable’. His defence amounts to “a big boy told me to do it” and “all the other kids do it”. His barrister said peers, including Taylor, treat expenses as “in lieu of a salary” and that falsely claiming for expenses like this was ‘commonplace’ in the Lords. They were all at it.

You might think that admitting falsely claiming for expenses was a clear admission of guilt. It seems that the defence is trying to show there was no mens rea or “guilty mind” without which they could argue there is no criminal liability because actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea“the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind be also guilty”. How Taylor will demonstrate an innocent mind when he gave false addresses will be interesting…

Troughing Taylor Trial Today

Lord Taylor would not be on trial today if was not for a combination of bloggers and Jonathan Calvert of the Sunday Times. Taylor, a former barrister, is pleading not guilty to six counts of false accounting under the 1968 Theft Act between 2006 and 2007, he denies dishonestly claiming £11,277.

For background on ther case see Pesky Bloggers Do It Again (Nov, 2009).

Amusingly he claimed to a co-conspirator on the Lords of the Blog not long before being charged that

For your information, the police have examined my expenses. The police are satisfied that there has been no impropriety or any other cause for concern. They have thanked me for my cooperation, and will not be taking the matter further.

Alas that turned out to be untrue when it was challenged by a co-conspirator, that very claim on his blog set in course a chain of events that led to him being in Southwark Crown Court today. He would have got away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky bloggers…

(On a lighter note Guido did however like some of his blogged tips for a better life – Top Tips From Troughing Lord Taylor.)

Petition Presented to Eric Illsley's Office

Over forty pages of signatures from the Sunlight Centre’s petition to have Eric Illsley resign with immediate effect have just been delivered to the disgraced Member for Barnsley’s office:

More than 2,000 people demanded that Illsley applies for the Chiltern Hundreds immediately. They don’t want him to wait until the end of the month to quit, as he plans to do, which would enable him to get his hands on over £5,000 more from the taxpayers he has already robbed once. Illsley claims to be winding up his office, the extent of which seemed to be occupied by one bag carrier sitting in a darkened room looking at the W4MP jobs page

Illsley Not Really Resigning

He says in his statement he is “winding down his office” and will stand down before his next court appearance – which is in a month. Based on past precedent he’ll get sentenced to more than a year in jail at his next court appearance and would therefore lose his membership of parliament anyway without resigning. Meantime he’ll claim more than £5,000 further off the taxpayers he has already been convicted of robbing…

Illsley Can Keep Troughing for a Month

The Speaker has decreed that because Eric Illsley’s case is still sub judice no move to expel him can be made until sentencing.  So the thief can continue troughing on his taxpayers salary for another month. To the public such a measure looks absurd and antiquated. Nearly 2,000 people have signed the petition calling for Illsley to do the right thing and fall on his sword. Guido hears there are plans to deliver the names to the disgraced member in person…

UPDATE: Paul Waugh reports of the distinct unease at the Speakers ruling:

“Well, to all of us hacks we found this jaw-droppingly wrong. How on earth can something still be sub judice when a judge rather than a jury is the only person left in the legal process? Judges cannot be influenced by words in newspapers, unlike juries. We’re not the only ones who think the Speaker’s advice was misguided. Labour clearly have their doubts and are desperate to call for the resolution and avoid getting the blame for Illsley being allowed – let’s not forget this – to pick up at least another month’s taxpayer-funded salary as an MP.”

Apparently Downing Street aren’t too impressed either…

Tell the Speaker what you think.

+ + + Labour Grandee to Pull Trigger on Illsley + + +

Sky’s Jon Craig is reporting that Labour’s Sir Stuart Bell is gearing up to table a motion to expel Eric Illsley. Over a thousand people have signed the petition calling on the disgraced Barnsley MP to fall on his sword, and the PM and Ed Miliband have both said his position is untenable.

Is Guido still allowed to use cross hairs?

UPDATE: It seems Sir Stuart is attempting some sort of expenses penance:

“If this was received by unauthorised means, it is disgraceful that a national newspaper should stoop so low as to buy information which will be in the public domain in July. It undermines the very basis of our democracy and is against all the rules of fair play.”

A very different tune today compared to the dark days of May 2009.

Petition Illsley To Quit

The Sunlight Centre have launched a petition to gently encourage Eric Illsley to quit. Guido thinks it would be quite good fun to hand deliver the names to Illsley’s house on Renfrew Road, Kennington that got him into so much trouble. Or maybe it will be to one of Her Majesty’s prisons. In all seriousness do help put the pressure on by signing here.

UPDATE: Ed Miliband says Illsley should quit as an MP as he cannot “credibly” represent his constituents. Andrew Sparrow reports that the Labour Party is moving to expel the guilty trougher from the House. Keep the pressure up, keep signing.

Walk Away Eric

Unless Eric Illsley is sentenced to more than twelve months in jail he can technically remain an MP and we would be paying his salary while he is in jail. The Labour Party have already kicked him out, but that is not good enough. Illsley has admitted stealing from the very people he was elected to defend and represent. If he has any semblance of public duty left he should take the Chiltern Hundreds job and trigger a by-election immediately.

Once again Labour’s judgement is called into question. How did they even let this man stand as one of their candidates at the last election? At least Milband didn’t put him on the front-bench like Phil Woolas, but that didn’t stop the photo-ops still displayed proudly on the “independent” MP’s website:

If Illsley won’t walk, the House must move immediately to expel him.

+ + + Sitting MP Eric Illsley Pleads Guilty + + +

Sitting Labour MP Eric Illsley has pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud. He was already expelled by Labour and was technically an independent. The LibDems and Tories are tied in his Barnsley constituency for second place, by six votes:

  1. Labour: 17487 (47.26%)
  2. Liberal Democrat: 6394 (17.28%)
  3. Conservative: 6388 (17.26%)

How many more by-elections will there be this year….

UPDATE: PA reports:

“His barrister William Coker QC said his client admitted wrongly claiming a revised sum of about £14,500. The claims were made for council tax, telephone usage, service charges and maintenance, and insurance and repairs at his second home in Renfrew Road, Kennington, south London. In a five-minute hearing, the disgraced MP sat in the dock rubbing his face and frowning. He spoke only to confirm his pleas, saying ‘guilty’ to the three charges.”

After months of denial, is conviction politician Illsley now eyeing up a similar reduction in sentence granted to David Chaytor on Friday?

UPDATE II: Sentencing in around a month.

Chaytor on Gaoling MPs

In a Commons debate in 2001, Mr David Chaytor (Lab, Bury North) lamented the downfall of the last government:

“Others ended up in jail—if they did not end up there, they should have done. The record of the last Conservative Government is dire.”

Almost as funny as the Telegraph’s Jon Swaine revealing that the reply he got when he put the allegations to Chaytor back in May 2009 was written in Comic Sans. Not so funny now is it…

One More Sleep Till Justice Day

Lets take a moment of quiet reflection as David Chaytor faces his last night of freedom. It will be an outrage to justice and shame this country’s legal system if the former Labour MP is not given a custodial sentence. Chaytor has admitted he shamelessly stole £13,000 from the taxpayer for a mortgage he had already paid off. Under section 17 of the Theft Act 1968 lawmakers are not above the law.

Don’t drop the soap David…

Piggies Squealing, Still Trying to Avoid Justice


One of m’learned co-conspirators has been in touch after Guido asked on Twitter why the MPs’ theft trials had been delayed.

M’learned friend says the case has been listed before the trial Judge at the Old Bailey today (this could change) for his ruling on an application (he believes) to stay the proceedings on the grounds that they can’t get a fair trial because of adverse publicity.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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