Disgraced British lawmaker to stand down

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A disgraced British lawmaker said Wednesday he would quit his seat after he admitted dishonestly claiming more than 14,000 pounds (16,800 euros, 21,800 dollars) in expenses.

Eric Illsley's decision avoids the prospect of him being forced out by his fellow lawmakers.

The independent, who represents Barnsley in northern England, said he "deeply, deeply" regretted his actions and would resign before his sentencing next month when he is likely to become the second lawmaker to be jailed over expenses.

Illsley, 55, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three charges of false accounting over claims for council tax, maintenance, repairs and bills for his second home in London.

Under British parliamentary rules, lawmakers only have to give up their seat if they are jailed for more than one year, but Illsley had come under intense pressure after Prime Minister David Cameron said his position was "untenable".

But British lawmakers can force out a fellow member of parliament.

Illsley's decision to stand down will trigger a by-election in his constituency, but it is almost certain to be retained by the opposition Labour Party.

Labour suspended Illsley after he was charged with abusing his expenses and he has been sitting as an independent since.

He was caught up in the scandal which shock British politics in 2009.

Dozens of lawmakers were exposed after The Daily Telegraph newspaper published details of expenses claims, revealing how taxpayers paid for lawmakers' widescreen televisions, furnishings and even an ornamental duck house.

On Friday, former Labour lawmaker David Chaytor became the first person to be jailed over the expenses scandal.

He admitted making fraudulent claims for more than 22,500 pounds for computer services and renting homes in London and in his constituency in northwest England, but he and his mother already owned the properties.

© 2011 AFP

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