Page last updated at 20:44 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

MPs MacKay and Kirkbride told to repay 60k expenses

Andrew MacKay and Julie Kirkbride
The couple are standing down at the General Election

Husband and wife MPs Andrew MacKay and Julie Kirkbride have been told to repay more than £60,000 of expenses claimed for second homes.

Mr MacKay, the Conservative MP for Bracknell, has been asked to repay £31,193. His wife, the Tory MP for Bromsgrove, was asked to pay £29,243.

Ms Kirkbride claimed thousands of pounds in expenses for their family home in her constituency.

Mr MacKay claimed on the property they shared in London.

An appeal by the pair was thrown out during Sir Thomas Legg's review of MPs' expenses.

Sir Thomas ruled that the arrangements "obtained a financial benefit for the couple which appears unintended under the Green Book rules, and as such contrary to the principles governing it".

Standing down

He added: "You say that the way in which you and your wife designated your homes was in accordance with advice given by the fees office.

Constituents in Bracknell give their views on the MPs' expenses row

"If so it seems to me that the advice was plainly mistaken, and indeed that you should have recognised it to be mistaken."

Mr MacKay and Ms Kirkbride were each overpaid £29,243 under their second home allowances.

Mr MacKay also exceeded the cleaning allowance by £1,950.

Both have repaid the amounts in full.

Sir Thomas also asked Ms Kirkbride to repay £2,584.26 of mortgage interest on an extension built so her brother could provide childcare, but this was overturned on appeal.

The couple previously said they would stand down at the General Election.

Some MPs say the way Sir Thomas carried out the audit was "sloppy" and £180,000 was cut off the total he ruled should be paid back after appeals.

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