Ex-Labour Party Member of the European Parliament Peter Skinner was jailed recently for expenses fraud. At Southwark Crown Court on Friday, Skinner was found guilty of three charges – one of fraud, one of false accounting, and one of making a false instrument – for a total of £100,000.
Skinner claimed that his expenses of £10,000 per month from December 2007 to July 2009 were used to pay for secretarial and parliamentary staff, when in fact it was spent on jewellery, holidays, cars, hotels, and restaurants. When asked what he had to say, Skinner replied:
“Obviously I have some worries about public trust in politicians but that is all I can say.”
During sentencing, Mrs Justice Maura McGowan, a High Court Judge, said:
“You were trusted by the public and you abused that trust. You have not only damaged public trust in individual parliamentarians but also in the democratic institution itself. This was a breach of trust of the worst kind – this was a sustained pattern of stealing from the taxpayer.”
A spokesman of the Labour Party said:
“Peter Skinner has clearly not upheld the high standards we would expect of an elected representative, he is no longer a member of the Labour Party.”
His assets are now facing confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.