Disgraced MP Jim Devine ‘got what he had coming’

Former West Lothian Labour MP Jim Devine, who was jailed for 16 months in 2011  after falsely claiming �8365 in expenses.''over. Pic: Ian Rutherford
Former West Lothian Labour MP Jim Devine, who was jailed for 16 months in 2011 after falsely claiming �8365 in expenses.''over. Pic: Ian Rutherford
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THE former office manager of disgraced MP Jim Devine has told how his lies put her through hell.

Marion Kinley, who earlier this month successfully sued Devine for defamation, said the former Livingston MP had “betrayed” her.

The 50-year-old faced a six-year battle to clear her name after her former boss told Westminster officials investigating his expenses that she was a gambling addict who had taken money from constituency accounts to fund her habit.

She was awarded almost £18,000 in damages at the Court of Session in Edinburgh after a judge rejected the past politician’s evidence as 
“incredible”.

Devine, 60, was jailed for 16 months in 2011 after falsely claiming £8365 in expenses.

Ms Kinley, who also won £35,000 from Devine at an employment tribunal in 2010, said: “He got everything he had coming to him. It felt good to finally have my day in court and win.

“I have had a very long fight to clear my name after a series of false allegations by someone in a position of trust who was a Member of Parliament, so was automatically believed by 
everyone.

“I knew I was in the right and I hadn’t done anything wrong, but I have been to hell and back because of him, and for that I can never forgive him.”

Devine and Ms Kinley first worked together at the trade union Unison before he asked her to be his assistant when he took over the late Robin Cook’s seat in 2005.

She said: “We had been friends for a long time and I’d worked for two MPs and he wanted my help.

“He could be really good fun to be around with his schoolboy humour, but he liked a drink and that made him think he was a bit of a ladies’ man. But it was all in his head – no-one would have looked twice at him.”

Both Ms Kinley and Devine represented themselves at the defamation hearing, during which she maintained that he had made damaging statements about her to “cover up his own actions”.

She claimed Devine had made comments that Ms Kinley, from Glasgow, was being investigated by the police and Special Branch.

Judge Lord Bannatyne said he reached his decision “without any difficulty”, finding her a credible witness and Devine “not to be a credible or reliable witness”.

He said: “It appears to me that these allegations are of a serious nature in that they allege criminal conduct and impugned the pursuer’s honesty. I am satisfied that the pursuer has suffered significant distress as a result of these allegations.”

Lord Bannatyne granted £17,816 to Ms Kinley after taking account of her pain and suffering. He rejected making a further award for disadvantage in the labour market.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com