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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 10:13 GMT
All MPs' claims may be published
MPs in the Commons
MPs claimed nearly 11.5m in additional costs allowances last year
Detailed expenses claims of all MPs dating back to 2004 look set to be published, the BBC has learned.

Most MPs can claim up to 23,000 a year towards the cost of a second home using the additional costs allowance (ACA).

The Commons has been ordered to publish details of 14 MPs' claims under Freedom of Information laws. Sources say all claims may be published by December.

Earlier it published a list of maximum prices allowed per item under the ACA, including 10,000 for a new kitchen.

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said its publication had been the latest embarrassment in the continuing row over MPs' expenses and many MPs had told him they were being made to feel like "crooks".

Second homes

He said the Commons Members Estimate Committee, which is reviewing the expenses system, was "coming to the view" that every MP's expenses for the past three years should be published - and was set to make that recommendation to MPs.

But in return MPs are likely to demand higher salaries or a 160-a-day allowance, he added.

New kitchen: 10,000
New bathroom: 6,335
Washing machine: 350
Flooring: 35 per square metre

MPs who represent a constituency outside central London can each claim up to 23,000 a year towards the cost of running their second homes.

Total figures claimed per year are already published, but Commons authorities had resisted giving detailed breakdowns, arguing they could intrude on MPs' privacy.

But last month it lost a Freedom of Information case and was told to publish details of claims by 14 prominent MPs, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell, including receipts and bills where they exist.

'John Lewis list'

The BBC has learned that Commons authorities have been advised there are no legal grounds to appeal against the information tribunal's decision.

It is likely they will be flooded with Freedom of Information requests for details of other MPs' claims and it is understood that senior MPs from all sides believe it would be better to publish all claims by the end of the year.

MPs can claim ACA to cover the costs of staying overnight away from their main home, including rent, hotel bills and mortgage interest payments.

Of course we accept the outrage, we accept the loss of public trust and public confidence
Stuart Bell
Commons Members Estimate Committee

They can also claim for items like televisions, beds and refurbishment of their properties, as well as up to 400 a month for food.

Earlier the so-called "John Lewis list", used by Commons clerks as a guide to maximum prices MPs can claim per item, was published after another Freedom of Information request.

It showed MPs were allowed to claim up to 10,000 to install a new kitchen, up to 6,335 for a new bathroom and 750 for a television or stereo.

'Complete revamp'

The estimate committee, chaired by Speaker Michael Martin, began a review of the whole expenses system following revelations that Tory MP Derek Conway had made payments worth 40,000 to his son for work as a parliamentary researcher while he was a student.

Labour MP Sir Stuart Bell, who sits on the committee, told the BBC: "Of course we accept the outrage, we accept the loss of public trust and public confidence. Our job as the Speaker's Committee is to get that back and that's what we're going to do."

Asked about the possibility of publishing all expenses he said: "The Speaker's Commission rules nothing in and nothing out".

Conservative leader David Cameron said: "We need to have better visibility and openness... People want to know that their MPs are working hard and are not taking money that they shouldn't."

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg told the BBC: "Clearly the way in which MPs' expenses have been organised, it's accumulated in an ad hoc fashion over many years - it needs a complete revamp.

"We need to start again and build a system that is transparent, that makes sense and that re-establishes public confidence in the work that MPs do on their behalf."

But Labour MP Martin Salter said: "You'll be hard-pressed to find a chief executives who's on less than 100,000. We're certainly [paid] less than head teachers and many deputy head teachers.

"I think there is a case for Members of Parliament actually being paid more and then having to fund their London allowance out of their own income."

Details of the expenses allowed

MPs' 10,000 kitchens on expenses
13 Mar 08 |  Politics
In full: The 'John Lewis list'
13 Mar 08 |  Politics
'Lax' MP expenses rules condemned
26 Feb 08 |  Politics
'John Lewis' list kept from MPs
08 Feb 08 |  Politics
Expenses details 'intrude' on MPs
07 Feb 08 |  Politics
MPs pledge broad expenses probe
04 Feb 08 |  Politics

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