Morley stepped down as an MP at the last election. In his attempt to avoid being tried under the ordinary criminal process, he fought all the way to the Supreme Court. Happily these squirmings failed, and yesterday at Southwark Crown Court his barrister said Morley accepted a jail sentence was now likely. "We know it's not a question of if, but how long," he said, while urging the judge to consider the former MP's "lifetime of public service." But how long had this blatant, calculated deceit been going on? And are these admissions a complete picture?
Pending his sentencing, Morley's been released on bail. He left the court head bowed, without speaking to journalists; no more airy promises to explain "genuine mistakes" and "oversights". For many months he'd maintained he hadn't realised his mortgage had been paid off, and so had continued to claim an allowance against it. For most of us, paying off the mortgage is a red-letter day and the public has found it rather difficult to comprehend his explanation.
The Parliamentary expenses system exists to assist the public's representatives in performing their duties. But Morley used it to line his own pockets with just over £30,000 - more than an average household's annual income. As environment minister between 2003 and 2007, he's the most senior politician to plead guilty to fraud since the expenses scandal broke in 2009. He'll be sentenced next month.
Bye bye, Mr Morley. Enjoy your new second home.