Page last updated at 02:57 GMT, Sunday, 17 May 2009 03:57 UK

Statement in full: David Maclean

Following allegations in the Sunday Telegraph, Penrith and The Borders MP David Maclean issued this statement:

I utterly refute this allegation.

The Telegraph were sent a detailed explanation by me today but from what I have seen of the BBC News they have ignored it.

This is my full response to the Telegraph.

In all my life as an MP I have had a main home in the constituency and a flat in London. I rented a flat in London until about 1993 when I purchased one. The constituency has always been my base and I spend four weekends out of five here and most nights per year.

I quote from the Green Book Rules we all had to follow. These rules were changed by the government in 2004 I think:

3.9.1 Definitions

Main Home

When you enter Parliament we will ask you to give the address of your main home for the purposes of ACA (Additional Costs Allowance) and travel entitlements. It is your responsibility to tell us if this changes. This will remain your main home unless you tell us otherwise.

If you are a Minister or office holder then your main home is deemed to be in London. Unless you are provided with an official residence, you will receive a London supplement with your salary and you may be eligible to claim ACA in the constituency.

For other Members the location of your main home will normally be a matter of fact. If you have more than one home, your main home will normally be the one where you spend more nights than any other.

I have complied with those instructions every year I have been an MP. When I became a minister in 1987 the Fees Office deemed me to be London based and I had to claim on my constituency house. On ceasing to be a minister in 1997 we reverted to the normal rule of claiming additional costs in London.

When I became opposition chief whip in 2001 the Fees Office informed me that I was now a paid office holder and I was deemed to live in London as my main home whether or not that was the case. I was therefore instructed to claim ACA on my constituency home. I did not "flip" or choose to do this. It was compulsory and I would have been reported for a serious breach of the rules if I tried otherwise.

When I ceased to be Chief Whip in Nov/Dec 2005 I followed the rule of claiming for my constituency home since I was now a backbencher.

I am not saying, "I was only following the rules," but that I was forced to obey a rule which I thought illogical but which was rigorously enforced before Labour diluted them.

It is that misunderstanding of the regime we had to obey which has misled you in your allegations about my constituency home. I have never "flipped" my property or sought to refurbish it at taxpayers expense.

Turning now to all your specific points:

Point 1.

As stated above, this was my main home which I was told I had to claim on because they would not allow me to claim on my London flat. The Fees Office were, I believe paying 1/12 of the maximum per month and wanted proof that the total costs of the house in the constituency were above the maximum. I could have sent them bare evidence to cover costs of £21,000 but in an attempt to be absolutely open with the Fees Office I gave them a statement showing the complete running costs and maintenance of my main home.

Indeed I showed total costs of over £40,000 as proof that it was costing me at least £21,000. I did NOT claim £42,000 but provided ample evidence of running costs. I did not claim for trees, nor fence posts, nor an item of jewellery. "Brooch" is a spelling error. It is Mr Steve Broatch the local window cleaner!! He was very good and you can Google search for him.

You will also see from my letter to the Fees Office of 20th May that I said that I estimated my mortgage payments to be £6,000 ( because I had not yet got the bank statement) but "I have erred on the side of caution and suggested £5,000." Hardly the sign of someone fiddling ones expenses, is it?

I repeat the key point that I wanted to claim on my London flat but was compelled by the Fees Office and the rules to claim for my constituency house instead. The only other option was to claim nothing at all but then I would have had to resign because I could not afford to live half my life in London or Cumbria without an allowance for one of them.

That house in Hesket Newmarket was our main home and was at all times even when I was made to nominate London under Green Book rules. Therefore capital gains was not paid on it. I will be eligible and will pay for capital gains on the London flat, at least when it rises above the purchase price one day hopefully.




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