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Councillor jailed for fraudulently claiming childcare costs

A councillor who fraudulently claimed childcare costs has been found guilty of eight out of nine counts of fraud and given an eight-month custodial sentence.

Emma McGurrin, 36, was elected a councillor on Wigan Council in May 2010, representing the Standish with Langtree ward.

However, she falsely claimed £1,693 for childcare costs while serving as a member of the authority.

McGurrin was suspended by the National Labour Party shortly after the allegations emerged.

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Last month (8 December) she was found unanimously guilty of the eight counts of fraud.

The councillor was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to the eight-month custodial sentence on Monday (5 January). She will have to serve a minimum of four months.

The judge is reported to have said that McGurrin had continued to lie, had made no admission of guilt and continued to blame everyone but herself.

A spokesperson for Wigan Council said: “Councillors are elected by the people of the borough who expect them to be honest, respectful and live up to the trust placed in them by the electorate. Thankfully these are qualities most of our councillors possess, but this is not true of former councillor Emma McGurrin - sadly she chose to abuse her position of power and responsibility.

“The council hopes this sentence helps to restore people’s faith in local democracy and underlines Wigan Council’s determination to stamp out this bad behaviour no matter what political party a councillor is a member of. Unfortunately, Wigan Council does not have the power to remove badly behaved councillors – only voters can do that through the ballot box.”

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