Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 17:02 UK

Clegg's 7k renovation expenses

Nick Clegg
Mr Clegg said the property had been in a run-down state

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has revealed he claimed more than 7,000 on expenses to renovate his constituency home.

He used the cash to pay for carpets, curtains, light fittings, garden maintenance and plastering work.

He also received over 12,000 for his mortgage on the property in Sheffield, nearly 1,700 for his council tax and 600 for his telephone bill.

MPs can claim up to 23,000 a year on expenses for costs associated with running a second home.

The details were disclosed following a pledge from Mr Clegg that he would voluntarily publish a fuller breakdown of his MP expenses.

'Hammer blow'

In March, Mr Clegg warned that withholding more detailed breakdowns of MPs' expenses would deal a "hammer blow" to public confidence.

He released his own information - published on the party website - voluntarily.

Aides said they chose the date before the government announced it would be publishing its draft legislative programme on the same day.

It gives more details than was previously available for his claims in the financial year 2007/08 but does not give a receipt-by-receipt breakdown of his spending.

'John Lewis' list

A note accompanying his expenses said much of the money spent on his constituency home was for "one-off repair work".

He said the Sheffield property had been in a "neglected condition" when he bought it and needed the work to make it fit for normal use - money was spent on repairing his garage, redecorating his living room and tiling his kitchen wall.

Mr Clegg claimed the maximum 23,083 under the additional costs allowance for second homes, in 2007-8.

He said that all his frontbenchers will disclose similar quarterly expenses breakdowns from July.

A Freedom of Information case revealed MPs can claim up to 10,000 for a new kitchen, 6,335 for a new bathroom and 2,000 for furniture - under the so-called "John Lewis list" of acceptable prices.

The additional costs allowance can also be used to fund up to 400 a month on food, interest on mortgage payments, utility bills, phone bills and hotel bills.

The House of Commons is fighting to avoid releasing the details of expenses claims under the allowance of 14 MPs and former MPs under the Freedom of Information Act.

They argue the publication of the MPs' second home addresses in a receipt-by-receipt breakdown of expenses would compromise security.

A High Court decision on whether MPs expenses should be fully disclosed has been deferred to a later date.




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