Page last updated at 08:20 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 09:20 UK

MPs reject claims on allowances

Andrew George and Julia Goldsworthy
Andrew George and Julia Goldsworthy defended their allowance claims

Cornwall MP Andrew George has rejected allegations his student daughter lived in a flat he was claiming mortgage interest and furniture for.

The Daily Telegraph said the Lib Dem MP for St Ives claimed for furniture and £847 a month for mortgage interest on the £300,000 riverside flat in London.

Mr George said his 21-year-old daughter had only stayed in the flat with him.

Falmouth MP Julia Goldsworthy said another claim, towards a £1,200 rocking chair, was a "reasonable" cost.

Insurance name

Mr George told BBC News his daughter had started studying in London and had gone "straight into student halls of residence".

He said that the property was insured in his daughter's name because the insurers said he could not have his name on two properties.

"Because we asked my daughter to occasionally keep an eye on the flat when we weren't there, they said it was OK to put it down in her name."

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He added: "I am incandescent about this story. We have a spare room and I think it's all right for my family to stay with me.

"I'd like my daughter to stay with me even longer in the flat and I don't think there is anything wrong with that."

He said he was against MPs profiting from the sale of their second homes and any capital gains should be returned.

"We should sell them back at cost and give back all the furniture that the taxpayer has contributed to furnishing.

"Parliamentary allowances are not there for private profit or gain."

The Daily Telegraph also alleges frontbencher Ms Goldsworthy spent thousands of pounds on furniture for her second home in London just days before a deadline of using parliamentary allowances.

Unfurnished flat

Items included a £999 TV and a £1,200 rocking chair.

Liberal Democrat Ms Goldsworthy said she had claimed only part of the costs of the items and she paid "several hundred pounds" towards the TV.

She said: "I made the claim as were moving into a new unfurnished flat. It was nothing to do with the deadline."

She accepted that she already owned a one-bedroomed flat nearby that she rents out to tenants.

She said: "My boyfriend and I were progressing our relationship.

"My one-bed roomed flat was not big enough.

"My boyfriend sold his home. I did not think July last year was a good time to sell so I decided to rent it out to cover the mortgage.

"Since moving I've not claimed any bills for that property. I am confident that I've acted in the rules".

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