Former Labour MEP jailed for four years over dishonest expenses claims

 
William Turvill
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Skinner was found guilty of three charges after a trial at Southwark Crown Court (source: Getty)

An MEP who claimed nearly £500,000 in expenses dishonestly has been jailed for four years.

Peter Skinner was a Labour MEP for the South East between 1999 and 2014.

He was found guilty of three charges after a trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.

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The BBC first reported that Skinner was found guilty of one count of making a false instrument, one count of fraud and one court of false accounting.

Skinner claimed thousands of pounds for support staff that actually went toward jewellery, and outings to hotels and restaurants.

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The MEP, of Snodland in Kent, said he was confused over the rules and blamed European Parliament procedures.

The BBC said his fraud eventually added up to £480,000.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers will be pleased to see justice done as someone who stole vast amounts of their money is sent to jail.

"Skinner’s case highlights the shameful lack of accountability and transparency in the European Parliament’s expenses system which is clearly open to abuse: the fact that he was able to defraud the system over a period of years shows the inadequacy of current safeguards to protect taxpayers' money from corrupt individuals."

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