A former Labour MP on Friday became the first politician to be jailed over the 2009 expenses scandal that has transfixed Britain and shaken public interest in MPs and peers.

David Chaytor, who was suspended from the Labour Party and forced to step down in the run-up to the general election last year, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after admitting to fraudulently claiming up to £20,000 in parliamentary expenses.

His lawyer described him as a “broken man'' who had paid a “devastating price'' for an “inexplicable stupidity”.

Sentencing Mr Chaytor, the judge, Mr Justice Saunders, said he breached “the high degree of trust'' that MPs enjoyed and it was “necessary their behaviour should be entirely honest if public confidence in the parliamentary system and rule of law is to be maintained”. “These false claims were made in breach of the high degree of trust placed in MPs to only make legitimate claims. These offences have wider and more important consequences than is to be found in other breach of trust cases.''

However, the judge cut the sentence by six months in recognition of Mr. Chaytor's guilty plea.

Expelled

A Labour Party spokesman said Mr. Chaytor had been expelled from the party following his conviction.

A large number of MPs and peers belonging to all the three major parties have been accused of abusing their parliamentary allowances by claiming more than their entitlement and many have been forced to refund thousands of pounds that they claimed in excess.

Keywords: U.K. scandal

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