‘Devine will never repay money’ - ex-office manager

Devine was jailed over �8385 worth of false expenses claims, but was released after serving four months. Picture: Neil Hanna

Devine was jailed over �8385 worth of false expenses claims, but was released after serving four months. Picture: Neil Hanna

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DISGRACED former Livingston MP Jim Devine will never repay the money he fraudulently obtained through false expenses, his former office manager has claimed.

Marion Kinley, who is owed £25,000 by the ex-Labour backbencher after winning an industrial tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, said she believed he had no intention of settling his debt to the taxpayer. She said: “Why doesn’t he pay the cash back to the House of Commons?

“He could go to them and ask for the money to be taken from his pension as a gesture that he’s sorry – but he’s not.

“Even the tiniest amount would show willing, but he doesn’t feel he has to pay it back. He’d probably still say it wasn’t him and that he was set up.”

Devine, 60, was jailed for was jailed for 16 months in March 2011 over £8385 worth of false expenses claims, but was released after serving four months.

He returned to his home town of Blackburn, West Lothian, where he was said to have been living like a recluse.

But earlier this week it was revealed he had left Scotland for good to make a new life for himself in Ireland.

He is said to have told neighbours in Blackburn – where his house is still on the market – that he would not be coming back.

He has settled in picturesque Killarney, County Kerry, where he is reported to have been spotted in a pub and a bookmakers.

Ms Kinley said: “Considering he’s bankrupt it’s amazing he has money to gamble and drink. He has total disregard for taxpayers – it’s typical of him to run away.”

Devine, a former health union official, was elected as Livingston MP following the death of former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in 2005. He had previously served as Mr Cook’s election agent.

But he was one of the MPs prosecuted after the expenses scandal which engulfed Westminster.

Devine fraudulently claimed £8385 by using fake copies of an invoice originally provided by the landlord of his local pub and bogus invoices from a printing company.

Devine denied the offence and tried to pin the blame on Ms Kinley.

The trial judge said it was clear Devine had lied to the court. He said: “Mr Devine set about defrauding the public purse in a calculated and deliberate way. These offences constituted a gross breach of trust, which, along with others, has had the effect of causing serious damage to the reputation of Parliament,”

Devine later declared himself bankrupt after Ms Kinley won her tribunal case.

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