Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 18:53 UK

Mortgage claim MP will stand down

Ben Chapman
Mr Chapman said the fees office had apologised to him

Labour MP Ben Chapman has said he will stand down at the next general election following reports he over-claimed mortgage interest on his second home.

Mr Chapman, MP for Wirral South, maintained he had done nothing wrong in a statement announcing his decision.

But he said the story in the Daily Telegraph had been "hurtful" to his family, friends and supporters.

The paper said he was allowed to claim interest on his home loan's full value despite paying off £295,000 in 2002.

He is the first Labour MP to say he will stand down over the row. Three Tory MPs have said they will do so.

Offered apologies

The Telegraph reported that the MP sought and was given permission to reclaim the interest payments on the full value of his mortgage after 2002.

Mr Chapman reportedly continued to receive £15,000 over 10 months for the interest part of the mortgage which he no longer paid.

I maintain that I have done nothing wrong and have acted in good faith and with absolute transparency throughout
Ben Chapman MP

He insisted the House of Commons fees office had offered him "apologies and regret" for offering him incorrect advice.

Mr Chapman added: "I maintain that I have done nothing wrong and have acted in good faith and with absolute transparency throughout.

"But the publicity in the Daily Telegraph, and subsequently elsewhere, has been hurtful to my family, friends and local party members and supporters, and I have therefore decided to stand down at the next general election."

The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) is looking into claims Mr Chapman was given permission to claim the allowances for the mortgage interest.

Tory MPs Anthony Steen, Douglas Hogg and Sir Peter Viggers have already said they will not stand at the next election after their own expenses claims came under the spotlight.

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