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    Ex-MP Devine guilty of fiddling expenses


    by ODN


    Former Labour MP Jim Devine has been found guilty of fiddling his expenses but will have to wait to be sentenced.

    Devine, 57, who held the Livingston seat, submitted false invoices for cleaning and printing work totalling £8,385.

    He was found guilty by a jury at Southwark Crown Court of two charges of false accounting. He was cleared of one other count relating to £360 for cleaning work.

    The former backbencher, of West Main Street, Bathgate, West Lothian, was the first MP to stand trial in the wake of the expenses scandal.

    Devine was granted unconditional bail and the red-faced ex-politician walked with a slight limp out of the dock after he was dismissed by Mr Justice Saunders.

    He told the court he acted on advice given to him with a "nod and a wink" during a boozy conversation in a House of Commons watering hole, and he even tried to pin the blame on his former office manager Marion Kinley.

    The disgraced former union official told the court from the witness box he found Ms Kinley had paid herself an extra £1,000 in cash for overtime and £4,300 as a bonus.

    He said he went straight to the fees office to take control of his account and shortly after, Ms Kinley went on sick leave.

    But the jury saw through the defences put to them by Devine and convicted him on two of the three counts of false accounting he faced.

    A Scotland Yard spokesman said the force welcomed the guilty verdicts, which he said came after "a thorough and detailed investigation of James Devine's parliamentary claims".

    Matthew Sinclair, director of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "Taxpayers will be relieved that in another expenses case justice has been done. After dismissing the arrogant assertion that they were above the law, the courts have again rejected MPs' pathetic excuses for false claims."