Page last updated at 19:23 GMT, Thursday, 14 May 2009 20:23 UK

MP defends 25,000 security claim

Barbara Follett MP speaking to the BBC on Thursday
Barbara Follett said she was entitled to a contribution towards security

Stevenage MP Barbara Follett has defended her expenses claim for £25,000 for personal security.

Tourism minister Mrs Follett told the BBC that she had been mugged twice on her doorstep, received death threats and had had a stalker.

She said she believed she was entitled to the contribution from the tax payer.

She accepted her husband, bestselling novelist Ken Follett, was a millionaire but felt she should be seen as an independent woman in her own right.

"I've had a lot of death threats. I have had more this week," she said.

'Risky lives'

"I have been mugged twice on my own doorstep and the public are not asked to pay for all of my security.

"My husband pays in my home. I pay in my constituency office, but a small proportion of the whole bill I have offset against this allowance.

"This is a contribution I believe I am entitled to."

Mrs Follett said that MPs lived "risky lives" and she believed security was a legitimate thing to claim for.

Asked if she would pay anything back, she said she would submit her expenses to the scrutiny committee set up by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

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