On Air Now
In Conversation With Steve Allen 6am - 7am
23 April 2019, 14:30 | Updated: 23 April 2019, 14:43
Tory MP Christopher Davies who fiddled his expenses has been fined £1,500 and sentenced to a community order.
Less than 12 months after being elected the MP for Brecon and Radnorshire Mr Davies created two bogus invoices in order to hide what money had actually been spent on.
When setting up his office Davies bought nine photos from a local photographer and paid £700 of his own money to pay for them.
MPs have two budgets available to them when setting up a new office. The Start Up Costs Budget - for office furniture and IT equipment - and the Office Costs Budget, both of which Mr Davies could have used to claim the full amount.
In summing up Mr Justice Edis said that the fakes would create the false impression that some of this money had been spent on furniture for the office.
"Members' expenses are a matter of public record and that lie would not enrich you, but it would pull the wool over the eyes of any of your constituents who were interested in what you had actually spent your expenses budgets on."
The judge said: "It remains shocking that, when confronted with a simple accounting problem, you thought that the thing to do was to forge documents. That is an extraordinary thing for a person in your position, and with your background, to do."
In sentencing Mr Justice Edis handed down a £1,500 fine and ordered the MP to complete 50 hours of unpaid work.
A Conservative spokesman said: "Chris Davies has been given a formal warning from the chief whip following today's ruling.
"He has apologised and it is right that the people of Brecon and Radnorshire now get to have their say about whether they still support Mr Davies."
Speaking outside Southwark Crown Court, Mr Davies said: "I have accepted today's ruling and want to take this opportunity to make an unreserved apology.
"I would like to reiterate that I made a mistake and at no point did I at any time try to make any financial gain.
"This has taken a very hard toll on my family, on my staff and on myself.
"I would now like to move on and continue my role of serving the people of Brecon and Radnorshire as their MP."