Fourth British lawmaker jailed over expenses

20th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former British minister Elliot Morley was jailed for 16 months on Friday for cheating on his expenses, becoming the fourth member of the House of Commons to be imprisoned over the scandal.

The 58-year-old, who served as environment minister under ex-Labour prime minister Tony Blair, pleaded guilty last month to dishonestly claiming £30,428 ($49,450, 34,700 euros) for fake and inflated mortgage payments.

Morley showed no emotion as he received his sentence at London's Southwark Crown Court, where Judge John Saunders said he was guilty of "blatant dishonesty" and had "thrown away his good name and character."

"I am satisfied from the nature of the mortgage transactions and the correspondence that the excessive claims were made deliberately and are not explicable even in part by oversight," the judge said.

Morley was immediately expelled from the Labour party, which he has represented as a member of parliament (MP) since 1987.

He is the fourth MP to be jailed for fiddling his expenses, after a major scandal in 2009 which shook parliament and forced a shake-up of the system of parliamentary allowances.

The other three jailed MPs were all members of Labour: David Chaytor, who was jailed for 18 months; Eric Illsley, who received 12 months; and Jim Devine, who received a 16-month term.

Lord John Taylor, a Conservative member of the House of Lords, is awaiting sentencing after being convicted earlier this year.

© 2011 AFP

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