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Ex-MEP to be sentenced after £500k expenses fraud inquiry

Former MEP Peter Skinner falsely claimed expenses

The former MEP for the South East, Peter Skinner, has arrived at Southwark Crown Court in London for sentencing after being found guilty of fiddling his expenses. Skinner, from Snodland in Kent, was found guilty of one count of making a false instrument, one count of fraud and one count of false accounting.

The 56-year-old ex Labour Member of the European Parliament admits that public trust in politicians as a whole will have been damaged by his case. It is expected that he will be jailed this morning.

Skinner claimed the maximum staff Parliamentary Assistance Allowance (PAA) between 2004 and 2009 while he was representing the South East of England in the European Parliament. The money - £480,000 - was supposed to be used for staffing costs, but instead some was used to "fund a lavish lifestyle and pay off his wife following their divorce.".

MEPS to vote on live animal exports

Members of the European Parliament are to vote on issues surrounding the live export of animals this afternoon.

Among the issues are ideas for improving the welfare of animals when they are being transported long-distance for slaughter, including: an eight-hour limit on journey times; more on-the-spot inspections; and tougher punishment for those who break the current EU rules.

One of the South East's MEPs - Keith Taylor, from the Green Party has been monitoring the situation at the Port of Ramsgate in Kent, which resumed live animal exports earlier this year.