Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 18:00 UK

Smith expenses claims published

House of Commons chamber
There have been calls for reform of the allowances system

Jacqui Smith claimed £22,948 in allowances for her second home in 2007-8, details of MP's expenses show.

The home secretary came under fire for declaring her sister's London home as her main one, enabling her to claim for her West Midlands family home.

Ms Smith, who claimed £157,631 in total allowances, has said she mistakenly claimed for a TV bill which included adult movies watched by her husband.

A wide-ranging inquiry into MPs' expenses is due to start this autumn.

After the publication of full details of MPs allowances claims on Monday, Gordon Brown said he had written to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which is to conduct the review, to urge it to report as soon as possible.

Opposition parties have been critical about the timing of the inquiry, saying its conclusions are unlikely to be known until after the next general election.

It follows widespread calls for reform of the additional costs allowance, which covers the cost of an MP staying away from their main residence to perform their parliamentary duties.

MPs can claim a maximum of £23,083 in such costs every year but there are growing calls for MPs with constituencies in outer London not be allowed to claim the money.

Controversy

Earlier this month it emerged that employment minister Tony McNulty had claimed at least £60,000 since 2002 for a house in his constituency in Harrow where his parents live.

Although it is only a few miles from the flat he lives in with his wife in central London, Mr McNulty said he used the Harrow house as a constituency base.

HIGHEST MPS' CLAIMS - 2007/8
Eric Joyce (Lab: Falkirk West) £187,334
Michael Connarty (Lab: Falkirk East) £183,466
Alistair Carmichael (Lib Dem: Orkney and Shetland) £176,190
Ben Wallace (Con: Lancaster & Wyre) £175,523
Mohammed Sarwar (Lab: Glasgow Govan) £174,882

The newly released figures show Mr McNulty claimed £12,600 in second home allowance in 2007-8.

Mr McNulty is having his expenses claim investigated by Parliament's standards commissioner, as is Ms Smith after questions were raised about her decision to name her family home as her second home.

Both Mr McNulty and Ms Smith have said their second home allowances were approved by the parliamentary authorities although Mr McNulty has said there are "anomalies" in the system that need to be looked at.

Figures from the Commons authorities published on Monday showed that Ms Smith claimed a total of £157,631 in allowances last year - also covering the cost of travel, office and staffing.

This included £2,531 to reimburse journeys made by the home secretary's husband Richard Timney, who works as her parliamentary assistant.

LOWEST MPS' CLAIMS - 2007/8
Philip Hollobone (Con: Kettering) £47,737
Tony Blair (Lab: Sedgefield) £64,064 *
Dennis Skinner (Lab: Bolsover) £66,933
Michael Martin (Lab: Glasgow Springburn) £74,522
Alan Williams (Lab: Swansea West) £80,526
Richard Taylor (Ind: Wyre Forest) £86,484
*Stood down in June 2007

Mr Timney was forced to apologise on Sunday after newspapers reported that he had paid for two adult films which Ms Smith had inadvertently claimed for on expenses.

Ms Smith has paid the money back and has been backed by the prime minister who said the issue was a "personal matter".

Details of the allowances claims of all MPs were due to be published in October but were delayed following a legal row over the publication of full receipts and invoices for spending.

The figures show that Gordon Brown claimed £124,454 last year while Conservative leader David Cameron claimed £148,829.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, who has called on the three party leaders to meet within days to discuss the need for "urgent reform" of the system, claimed £149,026.



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