Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 11:09 UK

Johnson wreath claim 'a mistake'

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Johnson wreath claim 'a mistake'

London's mayor has said he "mistakenly" claimed £16.50 on expenses for a Remembrance Sunday wreath when he was an Oxfordshire MP.

Boris Johnson made the claim in 2006 when he was MP for Henley, the Daily Telegraph newspaper has reported.

The claim was originally disallowed by the Commons fees office.

Mr Johnson said it was included in his expenses by accident and he then paid it himself. He also claimed the maximum allowable second home allowance.

The Commons fees office said MPs were "not allowed" to claim for charitable items.

Mr Johnson said: "Thame Town Council did send a bill to my office in 2006 and this was mistakenly added to my office expenses.

"As soon as this was pointed out I happily paid from my own pocket."

Between 2004 and 2008 Mr Johnson claimed a total of £85,299 for mortgage interest payments on the second home he owned in his constituency.

In the last two years in office he claimed the maximum amount.

'Voters expect'

But he defended the size of his claim, arguing that he needed a second home to carry out his job as an MP.

Mr Johnson, who now lives in Islington, north London, said: "Voters outside London rightly expect their MPs to have a home in their constituency.

"I bought a family home in Henley, more than 50 miles from the House of Commons, for that reason and I spent a considerable amount of time there with my wife and four children.

"South Oxfordshire is one on the most expensive areas in the UK and my claims covered only a proportion of my mortgage interest payments.

"I claimed my council tax and utilities, but otherwise did not claim a single thing - not even a bathplug."



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