Australian MP Resigns After Lying About University of Leeds Degree

An Australian Labor MP has resigned from his post after repeatedly lying about elements of his past.

Barry Urban, MP for Darling Range, alleged that he graduated from the University of Leeds in 1993 with an undergraduate degree in Physical Education and Applied Social Science.

However, the Legislative Assembly’s Procedure and Privileges Committee concluded that this, along with a number of other statements, was false.

It has been revealed that Urban in fact studied at the College of Ripon and York St John University – formerly known as York St John.

The Committee, given its findings, suggested that he be expelled from the Western Australian Parliament.

“The Legislative Assembly expels the Member for Darling Range as a member of the Legislative Assembly, and declares the seat … vacant by reason of such expulsion,” the report stated.

Committee Chairman and Speaker Peter Watson also raised the prospect of criminal proceedings.

He told the Legislative Assembly that under criminal code, misleading a parliamentary committee was an offence that could result in up to five years’ imprisonment.

Urban would have been the first to be expelled from the Western Australian Parliament however, within minutes of the recommendation, he resigned before that could officially happen.

In an apology to the Australian Parliament, he said that he was paying a “hefty price” for his mistakes.

“This is a situation that I regret and this will haunt me for the rest of my life,” he stated.

“The situation has taken me to some very dark places and for the sake of recovery and mental health, I need to look towards the light of what the future brings.”

Alongside his University of Leeds fabrication, he was also accused of lying about:

  • He had a Certificate of Higher Education in Policing from the University of Portsmouth;
  • He had completed nine out of 10 modules of a Diploma of Local Government;
  • He was seconded from West Midlands Police in 1998 and served with the United Nations mission in the Balkans, where he provided security for a team investigating war crimes;
  • He was posted a service medal by UK authorities;
  • He subsequently lost such medal;
  • He was entitled to wear such a medal; and
  • He was under a genuine but mistaken belief that he was entitled to wear a replica police overseas service medal.

The University of Leeds will not be issuing a statement.

Jonny Chard

[Image: The West Australian]