Tory MP fined £1500 for submitting false expense invoices as court hears

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. However, he said Davies was not entitled to split the costs across two budgets, and said any claims had to be accompanied by genuine invoices.Davies served as a councillor in Powys before he was elected as MP for Brecon and Radnorshire at the 2015 general election, beating incumbent Liberal Democrat Roger Williams with the seat’s largest majority since 1983.He served as parliamentary private secretary to the Wales Office from January to July 2018.Before entering politics, he worked as a rural auctioneer, an estate agent and also managed a mixed veterinary practice in Hay-on-Wye. It was heard Davies' political career is likely to be "in tatters" There were two budgets available to him, the Start Up Costs Budget – for office furniture and IT equipment – and the Office Costs Budget, both of which he could claim the full amount from.But Philip Stott, prosecuting, revealed Davies found in February 2016 that only £476.02 was left in the Start Up Costs Budget, with £8,303.75 remaining in the other. Davies is the Conservative MP for Brecon and RadnorshireCredit:Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament He then created two fake invoices, so the £700 cost could be split between the two budgets – £450 to the Start Up and £250 for the other.Defending, Thomas Forster QC said his client – a 51-year-old father of two school-age children – was in a “privileged position” as an MP, but that his offending was a mistake rather than a “return to the bad old days” of “maxing out expenses accounts”.He said: “There is a very real likelihood that his political career is in tatters.”This is a tragically disastrous set of circumstances to which I accept he is the author.”It is not a financial cost, it is a harm to the integrity of Parliament.”Mr Forster added that his client underspent “across every single budget”.”This has taken a very hard toll on my family, on my staff and on myself”Prosecuting, Mr Stott said it was accepted that Davies had not sought to profit financially from the action and that he was entitled to claim for the pictures. Under parliamentary rules, Davies does not automatically lose his seat as an MP because his sentence was less than the 12-month minimum.He was ordered to carry out 50 hours of community service as well as his fine.Speaking outside Southwark Crown Court, Mr Davies said: “I have accepted today’s ruling and want to take this opportunity to make an unreserved apology.”I would like to reiterate that I made a mistake and at no point did I at any time try to make any financial gain.”This has taken a very hard toll on my family, on my staff and on myself.”I would now like to move on and continue my role of serving the people of Brecon and Radnorshire as their MP.” Christopher Davies was warned by chief whip Julian Smith following the sentencingCredit:Victoria Jones/PA Christopher Davies was warned by chief whip Julian Smith following the sentencing It was heard Davies’ political career is likely to be “in tatters”Credit:Geoff Pugh Davies is the Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire Sentencing, Mr Justice Edis said: “It seems shocking that when confronted with a simple accounting problem, you thought to forge documents.”That is an extraordinary thing for a man with your position and your background to do.”The two charges related to the period when Davies was setting up his constituency office following the 2015 general election.Political career ‘likely to be in tatters’He had contacted a photographer in his constituency and bought nine images from him to decorate and display in his constituency office, using his own money to pay the £700 for them initially. A Conservative spokesman said: “Chris Davies has been given a formal warning from the chief whip following today’s ruling.”He has apologised and it is right that the people of Brecon and Radnorshire now get to have their say about whether they still support Mr Davies.” A Conservative MP was today fined £1,500 and ordered to carry out community service for submitting false invoices to decorate his office, as a court heard it was likely his political career is “in tatters”.Christopher Davies, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, showed no emotion as he was sentenced by Mr Justice Edis at Southwark Crown Court.The 51-year-old was told he had committed “two very serious offences” which were “absolutely intended to deceive” when he appeared before magistrates last month to admit two charges of attempting to provide false or misleading information for an allowance claim.Following the sentencing, Davies was given a “formal warning” from chief whip Julian Smith.The court heard he submitted two false expenses invoices for landscape photographs to decorate his new office.

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