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MacShane compares himself to Bill Roache on release

Disgraced former Labour minister Denis MacShane took a swipe at prosecutors for pursuing "celebrity" cases and compared himself with Coronation Street star William Roache as he was released from jail today.

Press Association

Prison is "the place" to go to to lose weight and get fit and is "fascinating", the ex-MP added as he walked free just six weeks into his six month sentence for bogus expenses claims totalling nearly £13,000.

MacShane lashed out at former director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer for being "very keen" on celebrity prosecutions and linked himself to Roache, who was yesterday cleared of alleged sex offences.

MacShane, 65, pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for "research and translation" services and was jailed two days before Christmas.

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MacShane becomes third of region's MPs jailed for fraud

Former Rotherham MP and Labour Minister Denis MacShane is behind bars for £13,000 of expenses fraud.

MacShane, a one time Government Minister and BBC journalist, is beginning a six month jail sentence for filing a string of bogus receipts which he used to fund a series of trips to Europe.

For our region he becomes the third local MP to be sent to jail for defrauding the taxpayer. Jon Hill reports.

Former Minister: MacShane shouldn't be jailed

Denis MacShane was jailed for six months

Denis MacShane should not have been jailed for making bogus expense claims as he has already suffered enough, a Labour former minister said today.

Tom Harris, who has known MacShane since 2001, said his Labour colleague should not have been imprisoned as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police accepted he had not gained personally from the claims.

MacShane, a former Europe minister and MP for Rotherham, was jailed for six months at the Old Bailey after admitting making bogus expense claims amounting to nearly £13,000.

The 65-year-old, who stood down as an MP earlier this year, had previously pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for "research and translation" services. He used the money to fund a series of trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.

Mr Harris said his former colleague should not have been jailed because he did not gain personally from the fraud, unlike other MPs who had been sent to prison as a result of the expenses scandal.

MacShane's guilty plea followed more than four years of scrutiny into his use of Commons allowances.

Parliamentary authorities began looking at his claims in 2009 when the wider scandal engulfed Westminster, and referred him to Scotland Yard within months.

But the principle of parliamentary privilege meant detectives were not given access to damning correspondence with the standards commissioner in which MacShane detailed how signatures on receipts from the European Policy Institute (EPI) had been faked.

The body was controlled by MacShane and the general manager's signature was not genuine. One message, dated October 2009, said he drew funds from the EPI so he could serve on a book judging panel in Paris.

It was not until after police dropped the case last year that the cross-party Standards Committee published the evidence in a report that recommended an unprecedented 12-month suspension from the House.

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Judge: "Deliberate" and "prolonged dishonesty" by MacShane

Denis MacShane was jailed for six months

Former Labour minister Denis MacShane has been jailed for six months at the Old Bailey after admitting making bogus expense claims amounting to nearly £13,000.

The ex-Rotherham MP previously pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for "research and translation" services.

The court heard that MacShane incurred "genuine expenses" for similar amounts which he chose to recoup by dishonest false accounting rather than through legitimate claims.

Mr Sweeney said: "However chaotic your general paperwork was, there was deliberate, oft repeated and prolonged dishonesty over a period of years - involving a flagrant breach of trust and consequent damage to Parliament."

The judge said he had considered a number of mitigating features, including MacShane's guilty plea, and that the offences were "not committed out of greed or for personal profit".

MacShane had suffered "a long period of public humiliation" and carried out the offences "at a time of turmoil" in his personal life, Mr Sweeney said.

The court heard that MacShane and his wife divorced in 2003, his daughter Clare was killed in an accident in March 2004, his mother died in 2006 and his former partner, newsreader Carol Barnes - Clare's mother - died in 2008.

The judge also considered his previous good character and that the money had been paid back.

MacShane jailed for six months

Disgraced former Labour minister Denis MacShane has been jailed for six months at the Old Bailey after admitting making bogus expense claims amounting to nearly £13,000.

The ex-Rotherham MP previously pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for "research and translation" services.

MacShane, 65, used the money to fund a series of trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.

His guilty plea followed more than four years of scrutiny into his use of Commons allowances.

Shamed former MP faces sentence

MacShane could face a maximum sentence of seven years Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Disgraced former Labour minister Denis MacShane will be sentenced today after admitting making bogus expense claims amounting to nearly £13,000.

The ex-MP pleaded guilty last month to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for "research and translation" services.

He used the money to fund a series of trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.

The maximum jail term available is seven years - although MacShane is likely to get less.

Mr Justice Sweeney at the Old Bailey on Friday heard the case outlined to him by the prosecution, and then Mark Milliken-Smith QC put the case for MacShane.

The judge said he would sentence MacShane today and warned him: "I am giving you no indication whatever as to what the sentence is going to be."

He renewed his unconditional bail.

MacShane's guilty plea followed more than four years of scrutiny into his use of Commons allowances.

Denis MacShane made bogus claims of almost £13,000 Credit: Press Association

Parliamentary authorities began looking at his claims in 2009 when the wider scandal engulfed Westminster, and referred him to Scotland Yard within months.

But the principle of parliamentary privilege meant detectives were not given access to damning correspondence with the standards commissioner - in which MacShane detailed how signatures on receipts from the European Policy Institute (EPI) had been faked.

The body was controlled by MacShane and the general manager's signature was not genuine. One missive, dated October 2009, told how he drew funds from the EPI so he could serve on a book judging panel in Paris.

It was not until after police dropped the case last year that the cross-party Standards Committee published the evidence in a report that recommended an unprecedented 12-month suspension from the House.

MacShane, 65, who served as Europe minister under Tony Blair, resigned as MP for Rotherham last November before the punishment could be imposed.

Police then reopened their probe in the light of the fresh information and he was charged in May - even though the letters are still not thought to be admissible in court.

The offence of false accounting covered 19 "knowingly misleading" receipts that MacShane filed between January 2005 and January 2008.

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