As I reported last night I heard that Jim Devine MP for Livingston had been reported to the police for investigation. It appears that the Sunlight Centre for Open Politics has raised the issue of Devine's expenses claims.
We have the issue firstly of the £2157 for rewiring his London flat , the one he acquired from fellow West Lothian MP Michael Connarty in 2006. For a start the invoice had an invalid VAT receipt. Devine when pressed further claimed that it was a friend of a friend. Later still he said it was somebody recommended to him in a pub. The latest is that Devine is saying the person who carried out the work is dead. Or have moved up 'north'.
Next you have the matter of £2326 for joinery work. The name hidden by redacting on the official receipt is the same as the name of the landlord of the Mason's Arms. Admittedly the man's original trade was joinery, however he has issued a statement that since he retired and took up the license he has not carried out joinery on anything other than the pub. Devine has said this heavy duty shelving, 60 metres worth apparently, has been at times for his office, his London flat, a shed and in a pub basement. Forget Great Birnam Wood moving to high Dunsinane Hill foretelling the downfall of Macbeth, the moving shelves of Livingston may be enough to bring down Devine not of his own freewill or timing of his choosing.
There is also the £690 in March followed by £1800 in June of 2006 for laminate flooring. The first was for the above area (redacted out) the second was for the lounge, bedroom and hallway. One does wonder just what other area there was to cover in laminate.
There is the mileage claims that were made in the name of a former member of staff, which have not been passed on in full to them. But that is not the only disgruntled member of staff as there are two industrial tribunals brought by former members of his staff. Plus billing for legal fees to advise a former employee on a "compromise agreement terminating her employment" smethng he had investigated himself with Network Rail earlier this year.
When you think that Devine himself mentioned the fraud word in relation to the electrician's non-existent VAT number one wonders just what fraud he was actually thinking of.