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Expenses scandal MPs claimed thousands in legal aid

Despite their prosecution for fiddling public money, expenses scandal MPs received over £55,300 in legal aid.

Some MPs’ legal aid was even more costly than the amount of money they cheated. Labour MP David Chaytor got £23,579 for his lawyers while he was prosecuted for £5,000. His peer Jim Devine, received £15,303 worth of legal aid, twice the amount he defrauded, Elliot Morley £16,055 and Eric Illsley £363.

The figures were released by the Legal Services Commission after a freedom of information request by the Mirror.

Other MPs claiming legal aid after the expenses scandal include Lord Taylor of Warwick although his legal defence costs have not been calculated yet. Tory Lord Hanningfield on the other hand, although jailed, did not apply for any aid.

As the Daily Mirror reports, the former MPs were granted legal aid under an “interests of justice” test that says that a defendant is entitled to state-funded legal representation if they are at risk of going to prison.

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