Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 18:31 UK

MPs explain expenses repayments

A list of MPs who have repaid some of their expenses was published on Parliament's website on Friday morning, some we knew about, some we did not. Here some of those repaying among the largest sums explain what they were for, and why they are returning them.

Phil Hope MP

The health minister had already said he was repaying £41,709 in second home allowances - the largest amount repaid by any MP. He had been criticised for the amount he had spent refurbishing his London flat. He said his claims were within the rules but said the damage to "perceptions of my integrity" had been a "massive blow". He said: "The important thing for me is not so much the money but how people view what I am, who I am, as a politician and in my constituency the cynicism and the anger that is there is something that I can't bear."

Elliot Morley MP

We already knew the former environment minister was repaying £16,800 - wrongly claimed for mortgage interest on a mortgage which had been paid off. But it has emerged he will repay a further £20,000. The Labour MP said further examination by his own lawyers showed that taxpayers had paid for part of the capital sum of his mortgage - MPs can only claim for interest payments. But he said his mortgage was supposed to have been interest only and not paid off until 2010. "What has come to light is there is an anomaly between the instructions given to the insurance company, given in writing, and what was actually provided both in terms of speed and type of mortgage," he said. "I am confident that what has been found so far demonstrates that this was a genuine error."

Barbara Follett

The tourism minister had come under fire for claiming £25,000 for security patrols at her London home. She told the BBC she decided two weeks ago "after careful consideration of the letters and feedback I have received from my Stevenage constituents" to repay the security claims from 2004 - up to this year's claims which have not yet been published. She said she had also refunded the cost of "the repair and cleaning of a child's rug" which was "claimed in error". Mrs Follett said: "The Fees Office did not ask me to do this, nor did they feel that it was necessary for me to do this. But some of my constituents, whose opinion I value and respect, did." She added that it had not mattered to them that claims were within the rules: "I felt that the only way to make it quite clear that I have never wanted to profit in any way at all from my role as their member of Parliament was to pay these particular expenses ... back."


We already knew about this - the shadow business secretary had been criticised for claiming £13,962 for cleaning and £12,951 for gardening over four years. They were allowed within the rules but he agreed to repay the money after talking to the Conservative Party scrutiny panel set up to investigate suspect claims. He added: "I want to stress that I completely understand the public's concerns about MPs' expenses and my party's absolute determination to respond to that concern."

Keith Vaz

The home affairs committee chairman had been criticised by the Daily Telegraph for claiming more than £75,000 to fund a second home in Westminster, even though his family home is just 12 miles away in Stanmore. In a statement about his repaid claims, Mr Vaz said he had stopped all claims for food and, after feedback from his constituents, had decided only to claim when Parliament was in session. "I have therefore voluntarily refunded mortgage payments for June, July, August, September, October 2008 and January 2009 totalling £11,306." He said from 1 April until an independent inquiry into MPs' expense reports he will only claim for when Parliament is in session - about half the year. He added that a month ago he voluntarily refunded "any claims for furniture and furnishings that have been made for my second home in 2007-08" which accounted for £7,643. 82 of the cost.

Sir Alan Haselhurst

It was already known Sir Alan was repaying about £12,000 for gardening. He says he has also included claims made in this financial year for the same thing. He told the BBC that while his claims, at the time, had been "perfectly legitimate" under the old rules he wanted to "respond to my constituents who had some difficulty with this." He said the claims stretched over five years, including this financial year: "the much debated figure of £12,000 applied to four years and I decided that, by the same token, the unpublished information for the extra year - 2008/09 - obviously I would repay that as well." He was also keen to point out he was not pushed into making the repayment by media coverage but had decided to do so himself.

Barry Gardiner

Mr Gardiner told the BBC he had repaid claims made during this financial year - which have not been published - for moving costs to a new flat in Wembley - stamp duty and legal costs. Since then the party leaders have come to an agreement that the additional costs allowance should only be claimed for rental/mortgage interest and council tax payments from then on. Mr Gardiner said he had taken his own "additional step" to apply that ruling retrospectively: "I said if they are not going to be claimable in the future, I will not claim for them in that financial year."

Paddy Tipping

The former minister and MP for Sherwood said the money was for mortgage interest claimed back for his second home since 2003 when he remortgaged the property to fund improvements. He told the BBC he now regretted remortgaging, saying it had been a "bad judgement". He said he repaid the money in April, before the Daily Telegraph revelations in which he has not featured. He insists that he did not break the rules and has never "flipped" his second home but says he wanted to be "straight" with people. He told the BBC: "What was permissible in 2003 is clearly not possible in 2009."

Paul Goggins

Mr Goggins was accused in the Daily Telegraph of allowing a friend to live rent-free in the London property he designated his second home for the past three years. The friend, Chris Bain, used to be a joint owner of the property but the mortgage was transferred to Mr Goggins in 2003. Mr Bain still owns a stake in the property. Mr Goggins said he had looked again at the claims for 2006-8 and as decided Mr Bain "should have made a greater contribution to housing and other costs" claimed during that period. The money repaid is for half the mortgage interest, council tax and utilities bills plus some other costs. He added: "Chris is now paying half of all the housing costs and so we have agreed that his share of the property will return to 50%." He added that before the expenses furore began, he had repaid £1,995 - which had been a rebate from his electricity company.

Howard Stoate

The Telegraph had already reported Dr Stoate was to repay the money and stop claiming the second homes allowance. He told the BBC the repayment was for costs claimed for this financial year, for which receipts have not yet been published. He represents Dartford, in Kent, and said after MPs voted in April to exclude outer London MPs from claiming for a second home he decided to refund the money he had already claimed this year. "Effectively I decided the House didn't want MPs too close to London claiming," he said. He says the Commons fees office had advised him he would still be eligible under the new rules but wanted to make "a gesture". He added: "I think the additional costs allowance has become so completely discredited and unfit for purpose, until we reform it I think it is difficult to justify the whole allowance at all."

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