Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Eric Illsley MP: The second domino falls...

So, the second of those former and in this case present, parliamentarians to be charged with fraudulently obtaining thousands of pounds in so-called 'expenses' from the taxpayer has acknowledged his serial dishonesty by pleading guilty to obtaining a total of £14,500 he was simply not entitled to.

I was going to say that he had admitted stealing it; but it's actually worse than that. Theft can be - and frequently is - an opportunist crime, committed by those presented with a spur-of-the moment chance to take something which doesn't belong to them.

But Eric Illsley like David Chaytor before him engaged in a sophisticated and protracted campaign of dishonesty and deceit in order to 'steal' that money; and in that sense, his offences are far more serious than simple opportunistic theft, particularly as he is still a serving Member of Parliament and therefore in a position of huge trust and responsibility.

I will not speculate here as to the potential sentence he faces on returning to court in a month's time, but if I was him, I wouldn't be making any holiday plans this year.

And as a corollary, I suspect that with this news, pulses in the Morley, Devine and Haddingfield houses continue to quicken whilst their rabbits' noses simultaneously twitch all the more urgently...

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