MPs' expenses: David Chaytor to be sentenced

David Chaytor Ex-MP David Chaytor faces a maximum of seven years in prison

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Former Labour MP David Chaytor will be sentenced later over £20,000 in fraudulent expenses claims.

Chaytor, 61, the former MP for Bury North, last month admitted three charges of false accounting.

He faces a maximum of seven years in jail, although his guilty plea will be taken into account by the sentencing judge.

He was to have been the first MP to stand trial over his expenses, before he changed his plea.

Two other former MPs, one current MP and two members of the House of Lords are due to face separate trials over their expenses claims.

Chaytor, who stood down as an MP at the general election having been barred by Labour from standing for them again, is due to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.

Chaytor had claimed £12,925 between 2005 and 2006 for renting a flat in Regency Street, near Westminster, which he owned - producing a fake tenancy agreement which said he was paying £1,175 a month rent.

False claims

He also falsely claimed £5,425 between 2007 and 2008 for renting a home in Castle Street, Bury, which was owned by his mother. He admitted he had not paid his mother, who had moved into a home because of illness. Under Commons rules he was not allowed to rent from a family member.

A third charge related to falsely charging £1,950 for IT support services in May 2006. The charge said that he supplied two invoices from a man named Paul France for his professional services "when in fact the services had not been provided or charged for". However in that case, Chaytor had not received the money claimed.

He had denied the charges but appeared at the Old Bailey in December to change his plea, having failed in a court bid to argue that expenses cases should be heard by Parliament, not the courts.

'Many misconceptions'

Chaytor's QC James Sturman told the judge, Mr Justice Saunders that £13,000 had already been repaid - and there were "many misconceptions" about the case which he aimed to "put right" at the sentencing hearing.

Chaytor, who was elected during Labour's 1997 landslide victory, had spent his 13 years in the Commons on the back benches.

He was suspended by the Labour Party and barred from standing for them again after stories about his expenses claims emerged when the Daily Telegraph published hundreds of claims made by MPs over several years.

At the time he apologised for what he called accounting errors and referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for investigation.

But after a lengthy police inquiry the Crown Prosecution Service announced in February he would face criminal charges.

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