Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 11:52 UK
MPs' expenses in detail

The Daily Telegraph has obtained details of MPs' expenses claims over the past four years which it has published.

Here is a summary of the claims made by some Labour politicians and their reaction to the reports.

Fraser Kemp

Claim: The Sunday Telegraph said Mr Kemp, the MP for Houghton and Washington East, claimed for two DVD players for his one-bedroom flat in the space of a month. He was also reimbursed for the cost of 16 bed sheets and claimed for two flat-screen televisions a year apart, it was reported. In the case of one of them, the Fees Office refused to pay the full £1,699 he asked for on the basis that the maximum claim was £750, it was suggested. The former Labour whip was also said to have bought goods including a freezer and fridge near his north-east England constituency, despite the London flat being designated his second home. He also charged the taxpayer £105.75 for an engineer to attend to his washing machine when he could not work out how to operate it, the Sunday Telegraph claimed.

Response: Mr Kemp told the Sunday Telegraph the claims for bed linen and a second DVD player were "an error for which I apologise" and that he would pay back the cash. He said he bought the second TV and fridge before moving in to a new flat. He said there had been a problem with his washing machine but that he would be happy to reimburse the sum claimed. On suggestions he had profited from the sale of his second home by claiming £1,532 to cover legal fees, he said: "I'll seek advice from HMRC to ensure appropriate liabilities have been met."

David Clelland

Claim: The Tyne Bridge MP was said to have "bought out" his partner's share of a joint mortgage on a flat in London, costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds plus legal fees. The Telegraph said that after the deal, which was approved by the Commons Fees Office, the mortgage interest payments increased by £200 per month.

Response: Mr Clelland insisted it would have cost the taxpayer more had he rented a flat. He said his partner had initially viewed the property as an investment but that she legitimately decided to withdraw her money in 2004, when it was rumoured that MPs might be ordered to hand over any profits made from such properties to the taxpayer. He told the BBC the London flat was "not a home, it's the flat I live in... [it] is what I have to have to do my work as a member of parliament and that's why the costs fall on the taxpayer."


David Chaytor

Claim: The Telegraph said the Bury North MP claimed nearly £13,000 for a mortgage he had already cleared. The paper says that between September 2005 and August 2006, the Labour backbencher claimed £1,175 a month in interest on his Westminster flat. However, Land Registry records show the mortgage was paid off in January 2004. The Telegraph also alleged that Mr Chaytor "flipped" the designation of his second home six times, including once to a house registered in his son's name. He reportedly blamed these actions on "changing and complex family circumstances".

Response: In a statement, Mr Chaytor told the Telegraph he apologised "unreservedly" for what had been "an unforgivable error in accounting procedures". He reportedly told the paper he would arrange repayment to the Commons fees office immediately. Mr Chaytor has referred himself to the parliamentary standards watchdog and has also been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party pending the outcome of investigations. He has decided to stand down as an MP at the next election.


Elliot Morley

Claim: The Telegraph said the former environment minister claimed £16,000 in mortgage interest payments on his home in his Scunthorpe constituency even though the mortgage had ended 18 months before. Although records show his mortgage had been repaid by March 2006, Mr Morley continued to be reimbursed for £800 a month in 2006-7. The Telegraph claims the anomaly was not spotted earlier as Mr Morley re-designated his London home as his second residence - a move known as "flipping" - in November 2007. It says Mr Morley had been renting out his London flat to another Labour MP, Ian Cawsey who nominated it as his second home and claimed back the £1,000 a month rent he paid to Mr Morley. This arrangement ended in March 2008 after the Commons Fees office became aware of the situation.

Response: Mr Morley admits the error was entirely his fault and has apologised "unreservedly" for it. He says he repaid all of the money once he had discovered his mistake. He has referred the matter of his expenses to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for further scrutiny. However, Gordon Brown has acted by suspending Mr Morley as a member of the Parliamentary Labour Party and also suspending the whip from him in Parliament. Mr Morley has also been suspended from his role as Gordon Brown's climate change envoy. He has also said he will stand down as an MP. Mr Cawsey told the Daily Telegraph he had been unaware of Mr Morley's financial arrangements.


Shahid Malik

Claim: The Telegraph says the Dewsbury MP claimed £66,827 from the second home allowance - the maximum allowed - over three years towards the cost of his London flat - bought in 2001 before he was elected. According to the paper, Mr Malik's claims over the period included £2,100 for a flat screen television, £1,420 for a bathroom, £671 for a fireplace and £730 for a massage chair. It says the Fees Office rejected the TV claim - ultimately granting the MP £1,050 for a TV and £250 for a DVD system - and a further claim for an iPod. Mr Malik is also reported to have claimed for a £65 court summons for not paying council tax. While claiming the equivalent of £443 per week for his London flat, the Telegraph says Mr Malik was paying less than £100 a week to rent a property in his constituency from a local businessman. It says the rental agreement with the businessman, from whom it says the MP also rented a constituency office - began in 2004 and continued until 2008 when Mr Malik married and moved into a larger property in the town.

Response: The justice minister defended his claims as being totally within the rules but did temporarily step down from his post pending an inquiry into whether he had received a preferential rent on his Dewsbury property and if so, whether that breached the ministerial code. He emphatically rejects claims he was paying a peppercorn rent for his Dewsbury property, saying this was a fabrication. Mr Malik has repaid the £65 claim for council tax summons and has said he will make a £1050 donation - relating to the value of the TV - to good causes in his constituency as a "gesture". He said he would not give the money back to the fees office because they had approved all his expenditure in the first place. He said he had claimed for "basic essentials" under the second home allowance such as mortgage interest, utility bills and council tax and had behaved "one million per cent by the book". As for furnishings, he said he did not receive a "good service" from the Commons Fees Office which didn't tell him there was an upper limit on individual claimable items. He says the Green Book which governs what MPs can claim was full of "subjective rules" and the system was now "in tatters". He said he had never "flipped" his home arrangements and always spent most of his time in Dewsbury. He said the Telegraph had picked him out - rather than David Cameron, who he said had claimed as much as him - because it was a Conservative-supporting newspaper. Mr Malik was investigated by No 10's adviser on ministerial interests, who, No 10 said, cleared him of receiving a preferential rent or breaching the ministerial code. After that verdict he was appointed as communities minister.


Claim: The prime minister paid his brother, Andrew, £6,577 for arranging cleaning services for his Westminster flat for 26 months.

Gordon Brown

Since reporting the arrangement, the Telegraph group has clarified that there "has never been any suggestion of any impropriety on the part of the Prime Minister or his brother".

Response: No 10 said the two shared a cleaner who worked in both their flats. Andrew Brown paid her and was reimbursed for his share of the cost. He did not do the cleaning himself or gain financially.

There was a formal contract for the arrangement, Downing Street sources add, stipulating the cleaner's hours of work and pay. The cleaner wanted to be paid by one person for National Insurance purposes.

Claim: Gordon Brown also claimed twice for the same plumbing work within six months of each other.

Response: The House of Commons Fees Office said the mistake had been inadvertent and apologised for having not spotted it. Gordon Brown is understood to have repaid the sum involved - believed to be £150.


Claim: The justice secretary over-claimed £1,500 on council tax on his second home.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw

He made a claim for the full bill despite getting a 50% discount from the local authority for the property.

Response: A spokesman for Mr Straw said he acted within the rules. He spotted the mistaken council tax claim himself and repaid the money himself. Mr Straw later told the BBC: "I have acted in complete good faith and within the rules. It is an error, which obviously I wish hadn't happened, but in circumstances in which I was incredibly busy during that period - that is not an excuse, it is just an explanation."


Claim: The culture secretary was reportedly battling with the fees office for eight months over a £16,500 expenses claim to buy and renovate a new London flat which was eventually paid, after being rejected three times.

Andy Burnham

He also claimed a £19.99 bath robe bought from Ikea in 2007 that was not allowed.

Response: Mr Burnham insists he did not profit from the property transaction. He made only permissible claims and returned a £1,000 surplus to the Fees Office for allowances he did not spend.

On the Ikea receipt, he made a "genuine oversight" on one item. When it was discovered, he corrected it and he was not reimbursed.


Claim: The business secretary claimed for improvements on his constituency home after he announced he was leaving Parliament to become an EU Commissioner.

Lord Mandelson

He later sold the property for a profit of £136,000.

Response: Lord Mandelson rejected claims he used taxpayers' cash to "renovate" his home for profit, insisting the money was spent on essential maintenance. He said the Telegraph's report - which details a £1,500 gardening bill and £1,350 in house repairs - was presented to provoke public anger. "The fact is that these allowances would not have been paid if they weren't within the rules," he told BBC Radio Scotland.

Labour MP Gerald Kaufman

Claim: Veteran Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman is alleged to have claimed £1,851 for a rug imported from a New York antique centre and tried to claim more than £8,000 for a television. The Telegraph also said he entered a claim for £28,834 - more than £15,000 of which was paid - for improvements to his London home, after telling officials he was "living in a slum".

Response: Mr Kaufman refused to comment publicly on the allegations when confronted by reporters in his Manchester Gorton constituency. Earlier, he reportedly told the Telegraph he had offered to repay the money for the rug and called the television claim "a bit daft".

Paul Murphy

Claim: The Welsh Secretary claimed for a new boiler after saying his existing hot water system was "too hot".

Response: His old boiler was replaced after it was deemed unsafe and could not be repaired. All his claims were within the rules and "assiduously" checked by the authorities.


John Prescott

Claim: The former deputy prime minister claimed £312 for the fitting of mock Tudor beams to the front of his constituency home in Hull and in December 2004 a plumber charged him £210.79 for pipework, taps and to "refix WC seat," according to the newspaper. In September 2006, he put a £112.52 repair bill on expenses, which included "refit WC seat".

Response: Mr Prescott said: "Every expense was within the rules of the House of Commons on claiming expenses at the time."


Claim: Taxpayers contributed almost £100,000 to help pay the mortgage on a £1.35m flat owned by the Northern Ireland secretary, it is reported.

Shaun Woodward

The money went on mortgage interest payments and council tax between 2004 and 2008 for the flat. Married to a member of the Sainsbury family and worth an estimated £15m - Mr Woodward is the richest member of the cabinet, though he does not draw a full ministerial salary.

Response: The Northern Ireland secretary's spokesman has said the claims are within the rules and guidelines but Mr Woodward admitted politicians collectively looked "shameful". He said: "If I try to make almost any defence of our collective position - or my position - it looks terrible." However, he added that politicians of all parties "are good people who try by and large to do a good job" within a "rotten" system.


Claim: The Telegraph claims the Europe minister put solicitors' fees and stamp duty totalling £14,553 on her Parliamentary expenses after buying a central London flat.

Caroline Flint

Before moving in to her second home in Victoria, she also claimed the £177 a month cost of putting her furniture in storage. Over a period of about eight months in 2005 to 2006, Ms Flint claimed for staying in hotels for an average of three nights a week.

Response: Ms Flint told the Telegraph she had sought advice from Commons officials at each stage and "never sought to make personal gains from public funds". She said only about half the cost of her London flat - including stamp duty - was met through public funds as she had contributed a "substantial amount" towards the cost of buying it from the proceeds of a previous flat sale.

Paul Goggins MP

Claim: The MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East claimed £2,800 for a settee and £2,000 for a carpet to furnish his second home. The Telegraph also accused Mr Goggins, who is Northern Ireland minister, of "flipping" his two houses in London and Manchester to make a profit. The paper also reports he allowed a university friend to live rent-free in a home paid for by the taxpayer.

Response: Mr Goggins defended his household purchases by saying he liked to "live by decent standards". "I do not lead an extravagant lifestyle, people should remember that we have to furnish our first home with our own money," he said.

Mr Goggins denied flipping his houses and said he was told to change the designation of his second home when he became a minister: "To try and suggest that I did it to make money is absolute nonsense, it was compulsory."

On allowing university friend Chris Bain to live rent-free, he said the arrangements were based on a "30-year friendship" and due to the fact that Mr Bain had been the joint owner of the property for six years between 1997 and 2003.


Claim: Mrs Beckett found herself in trouble with the Fees Office after attempting to claim £600 for hanging baskets and pot plants.

Margaret Beckett

An official informed her in a letter that expenses had to be "wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred to enable you to stay overnight away from your main home". She claimed second home allowances of £72,537 from 2004 to 2008, despite having no mortgage or rent to pay on her constituency home in Derby. As environment secretary and foreign secretary, Mrs Beckett was living at the grace and favour Admiralty House in Whitehall, which enabled her to rent out her London flat.

Response: The former foreign secretary said: "Grace and favour homes are not rent free, we are taxed on them as a benefit in kind."


Nick Brown

Claim: The Chief Whip claimed £18,000 in expenses without receipts for food over four years. He also claimed £250 a month for a cleaner, £200 a month for "service and maintenance", and £200 a month for "repairs" - all without receipts. Mr Brown - who has been put in charge of investigating claims involving Labour MPs - also claimed £87,708 for his constituency home between 2004 and 2008. In 2007/8 his mortgage interest repayments were £6,600. But he claimed £23,068 - just £15 below the maximum permitted - by including £4,800 for food, £2,880 for services, £2,880 for "repairs and insurance", £1,810 for utilities, £1,640 for phones and £897.65 for cleaning.

Response: Mr Brown, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend, told his local newspaper, The Journal, that his claims were "not unreasonable" and were all for genuine expenses. He added: "I am working flat out for the people that I represent and the politics that I believe in."


Claim: The tourism minister claimed £25,411.64 for security patrols at her London home after she was mugged.

Barbara Follett

She also requested £528.75 to have a Chinese needlepoint rug repaired and cleaned but that was deemed excessive by the Fees Office and she was handed back just £300.

Response: Mrs Follett told the BBC: "I claimed it, it's within the rules and I have no comment to make." She had earlier told the Telegraph that only two of the claims she had submitted during the last 12 years had been disputed and that the one item not accepted had been claimed in error.


Claim: The Telegraph suggested the immigration minister had claimed for nappies and women's clothing when submitting requests for expenses.

Phil Woolas

It said it was unclear how these items had been justified because parliamentary rules only allowed payouts for items which were "exclusively" for MPs' own use.

Response: Mr Woolas has threatened legal action over the "disgusting" allegations. He said the items had been on supermarket receipts submitted as part of a claim for food expenses but that he had never asked for money for them. Mr Woolas described the expenses records as "stolen property".

Claim: In response to Mr Woolas' complaints, the Sunday Telegraph claimed that in August 2004 he had submitted five receipts totalling £210.31 for food and was reimbursed in full. However, the paper points out that the receipts included non-permissible items such as disposable bibs, nail polish, comics and a ladies' jumper.

Response: Mr Woolas told the newspaper he understood the extrapolation but insisted he had done nothing wrong. He has pointed out that - under rules at the time - he was not obliged to submit receipts for food totalling up to £400. He has also pointed out that he did not claim for women's clothing, as the newspaper claims. He said he had actually submitted six receipts totalling £245.98, meaning he did not receive taxpayers' money for some items. "I am being hung out to dry for being honest," he said.


Claim: Care Services Minister Phil Hope was said to have spent more than £37,000 over about four years on refurbishing and furnishing a two-bedroom south London flat.

Phil Hope

Response: Mr Hope has said his claims for running and furnishing the flat were "in full accordance with the rules" and that the purchases were "no more than was necessary to live in a habitable residence". However, he has decided to pay back £41,709 of the money in light of the public anger about the expenses system. He said negative coverage about his claims had been a "massive blow" to him and his family and reduced the standing in which he was held by his constituents.


Dawn Butler

Claim: The Labour whip offered to "dig out" other receipts after she over-claimed rent on her constituency home by £2,600 - an offer which was accepted by the Commons fees office. After the Brent South MP bought a home in Wembley, she claimed £2,650 for a central heating system and installed a whirlpool bath in a suite costing £2,308 - even though her main home was just 15 miles away in east London. Though just £800 was claimed for the bathroom, the parliamentary green book says payments should not be made for "capital costs of repairs which go beyond making good dilapidations and enhance the property".

Response: Ms Butler denied the claim about the whirlpool bath and said she was taking legal advice. "There is nothing underhand here in any of my claims. All the claims are for legitimate expenditure," she added.


Claim: The chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee claimed more than £75,000 to fund a second home in Westminster, even though his family home is just 12 miles away in Stanmore.

Keith Vaz

The Telegraph also suggested he changed his designated second home for a single year to property in his Leicester constituency, before claiming more than £4,000 on furnishings.

Response: Mr Vaz told the BBC he lived in Leicester and that his second home was in Westminster. He has had a Westminster flat since becoming an MP in 1987. He made no claim for the Stanmore home, which he acquired on getting married and was - he pointed out - not in central London. "It's on junction 4 of the M1 and I keep the Westminster flat for early morning meetings as do many MPs who live in that block," he said.


Claim: A health minister, the Telegraph claimed he had switched his second home designation to a more expensive jointly-owned London property and claimed full mortgage interest payments, in order for his partner to "benefit from the system".

Ben Bradshaw

The couple had previously split the mortgage costs, the paper said. However, it claimed that Mr Bradshaw was now submitting the entire cost of interest on the property to be paid out of expenses.

Response: Exeter MP Mr Bradshaw told the BBC he had always claimed for their London home and only briefly switched to claiming for his constituency property between 2003 and 2006, because of a temporary rule telling ministers to claim constituency rather than London costs. The minister said before he and his partner entered into a civil partnership in 2006 he had claimed only a proportion of the mortgage interest - even though he would have been entitled to claim it all. Since then, he had claimed for and paid the full mortgage interest on their London property, as the rules allowed, he said. He added that he always submitted comparatively low claims and had long called for reform of the expenses system.


Claim: According to the Telegraph, the Labour MP for Luton South spent £22,500 treating dry rot at the coastal property in Southampton she had designated as her second home - even though it was a two-hour drive from Parliament and 100 miles from her constituency.

Margaret Moran

Response: Ms Moran has now said she will pay back the money claimed for her Southampton home. She said it was claimed in full consultation with staff at the Commons fees office and said she had stuck to the rules. But she added: "However, I do understand constituents' anger at the current fees regime, which is why I will be repaying the full amount claimed for my home in Southampton." Explaining her claim days earlier she said her partner had worked in Southampton for 20 years and that she could not "make him come to Luton all the time". She said: "I have to have a proper family life and I can't do that unless I share the costs of the Southampton home with him." Ms Moran also said there had been some "inaccuracies" which were "probably actionable" in the Telegraph reports.


Claim: Within a year of being elected in 2005, Ms Ussher is said to have set out to the Commons authorities over two pages a list of "essential repairs" to her Victorian house in south London.

Kitty Ussher

It detailed how the house "was relatively cheap to purchase but requires quite a lot of work". Among the work listed was replacing "rotten" sash windows and a "grimy" stair carpet. She received the full £22,110 allowance, although her requests to replace "strange" plumbing and "bad taste" Artex were refused. The Sunday Telegraph claimed she had already lived in the house for five years.

Response: The work and pensions minister's spokesman said Ms Ussher "fully supports" the review into MPs' expenses claims and believed it was right that MPs expenses' claims should be published. "All her claims were in line with the relevant House of Commons rules and guidance and have been approved by the Fees Office," he said.

Former Labour MP Tam Dalyell

Claim: Former long-serving Labour MP Tam Dalyell attempted to claim £18,000 for bookcases, two months before retiring from Parliament in 2005, the Telegraph alleged.

Response: Mr Dalyell, formerly MP for Linlithgow, said he was "absolutely unrepentant" about the claim. He told the BBC he had bought the bookcases to store documents gathered during his political career and had approached the Fees Office to ask what proportion of the £18,000 he could claim back in expenses. He said the office eventually paid about £7,800. He said he believed it was "a legitimate office expense" and would "definitely not" pay the money back.


Claim: It is claimed the junior minister had a £450 widescreen television delivered to his family home in Wales and then claimed it on his allowance for his second home in London.

Response: Mr Brennan, Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Cabinet Office, said the Telegraph story was "a thinly-disguised smear which has absolutely no basis in fact". He said all items claimed for which were purchased in or delivered to his Cardiff home were for exclusive use in the London property, and after the larger items were stored in his garage they were taken east by a local business. Mr Brennan insisted that he had always stuck to the rules, but said the system needed to be "urgently reformed".

Barry Gardiner

Claim: The MP for Brent North made a profit of almost £200,000 from a flat mortgaged and renovated with the help of taxpayers' cash, the Telegraph has alleged. He is yet to respond.

Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda

Claim: The Telegraph accused the MP for Rhondda of "flipping" his second home twice in two years, allowing him to claim almost £20,000 in expenses.

Response: Mr Bryant, who is deputy leader of the House of Commons, described the allegations as "unfounded and inaccurate". The openly-gay MP said he moved to a more secure property after "a series of attacks on my home" and had asked the Fees Office what work on the new house he could claim back.

Vera Baird

Claim: The Solicitor General - one of the government's top legal advisers - was refused a £268 claim for Christmas decorations.

Response: Ms Baird insists she has broken no rules.


Claim: The former Trade Secretary used the expenses system to claim more than £125,000 for the London flat owned by his partner, it is claimed.

Stephen Byers

Over the past five years, Mr Byers is said to have spent more than £27,000 on renovation, redecoration, maintenance and appliances at his flat in Camden, north London.

Response: Mr Byers told the Sunday Telegraph all his claims were within the rules and had been approved by Commons authorities.


Claim: The Telegraph has suggested the former Home Secretary claimed for a £199 pouffe, a £370 armchair and an £899 sofa.

John Reid

He is also said to have submitted receipts for £486.50 spent at Marks and Spencer last August on items including slotted spoons, three rattan bins, oven mitts, wineglasses and ice cube trays. His expenses claim for 2007-08 also included a letter from the TV Licensing authority warning the occupier of the property "there is no valid television licence". Mr Reid's office pointed out that the TV licensing letter was addressed to the previous occupier of the property.


Claim: The former Prime Minister used his parliamentary expenses to remortgage his constituency home for £296,000 - nearly 10 times what he paid for it - just months before buying a west London house for £3.65m.

Tony Blair

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the loan would have been enough to cover the cost of the deposit on the new home. It said he was able to claim for interest repayments on almost a third of the new mortgage on his constituency home.

Response: His spokesman told the newspaper Mr Blair only claimed back the interest repayments on the portion of the mortgage which covered the purchase price and improvements to the house. There was no cost to the taxpayer in the rest of the money raised against the property, he added.

Claire Ward

Claim: The government whip claimed up to £1,150 in "petty cash" over eight months on her second home allowance. When told by the fees office in 2004 that cash payments were not permitted, she stopped claiming but did not return the money. Ms Ward, MP for Watford, switched her second home to a flat just a few minutes walk from her old property and more than doubled her mortgage interest payments.

Response: Ms Ward told the Telegraph that the claims for "petty cash" were clarified as "miscellaneous household items". She denied "flipping" her second home for financial gain, saying that she had sold a one-bedroom flat and bought a two-bedroom flat in anticipation of her new family. As she had an offset mortgage, she said, her housing costs had "fluctuated".


Claim: Edinburgh North and Leith MP Mark Lazarowicz claimed more than £5,000 in costs for legal and professional fees incurred in extending the lease of his London flat.

Mark Lazarowicz

Response: Mr Lazarowicz has decided to repay about £2,675 of those costs.

While the claims had been approved by the Fees Office, he said he had only realised the scale of the legal costs associated with the extension - which led to a lengthy dispute - in recent days.

He said the amount was "much higher" than many of the public would be prepared to accept and that it was right that he repaid a "substantial" share of it.


Alan Keen

Claim: The Telegraph says Labour MPs Alan and Ann Keen - who are married - have claimed £137,679 between them towards a central London flat despite the fact their family home is less than ten miles away. According to the paper, the couple bought the London property in 2002 and have, between them, claimed more than £30,000 towards it in each of the past four years. The couple's main home is in Brentford. Alan Keen is MP for Feltham and Heston while Ann Keen - a junior health minister - is MP for neighbouring Brentford and Isleworth. The paper said the couple claimed for interest payments on a £520,000 mortgage for the London flat even though the actual purchase price of the property was £500,000. It also claims the Fees Office had reduced their awards in 2007 because both MPs had claimed for council tax on the London property. Among the couple's claims on the London property, the paper adds, were a £50 call-out fee for fixing the sound on a home cinema system.

Ann Keen

Response: The couple say that, under the second home allowance rules, married MPs are entitled to separately claim for a property that they share and live in together. Alan Keen said the Commons authorities had agreed to the mortgage repayment claims after the couple explained to them that their bank had asked for the loan to be secured against both properties for added security. He said the authorities had agreed that the value of the London flat was £520,000, the couple having bought it for £500,000 and agreed to pay the seller an additional £20,000 for fixtures and fittings.


Claim: The government whip attempted to spread his claim for stamp duty on his second home in London across two financial years. Mr Austin, MP for Dudley North, divided the stamp duty on the purchase of the London flat in March 2006 into two claims - £6,770 on 28 March and £1,344 on 3 April. As a result, he was able to claim nearly all his second home allowance for the financial year 2005/6. Although the £1,344 claim was rejected by the fees office, Mr Austin was repaid for the move's legal costs in 2006-7. He was also alleged to have "flipped" his second home weeks before purchasing the flat.

Response: Mr Austin told the Daily Telegraph that an error in calculating the costs of the move resulted in the stamp duty claim being refused. He said the fees office had advised him to split the costs over two financial years. Mr Austin added that he apologised for the miscalculation and no payments were received or made as a result of the error.


Claim: Labour's former chief whip claimed £3,100 towards the cost of treating the gables and walls of her constituency home.

Response: The MP for Durham North West says the gables needed correcting because of a problem of "hornets getting into the cavity wall". The work was "essential" to maintaining the basic infrastructure of the house, she added.

Steve McCabe

Claim: The Labour whip and MP for Birmingham Hall Green over-claimed £4,059 on his mortgage over two years.

Response: Mr McCabe told the BBC he disputes the sum. He said he "did make an error", as he told the Telegraph. But once the Fees Office notified him of this, he sorted it out by offsetting against subsequent claims.


Claim: The Wirral South MP claimed for interest payments on his mortgage that he had already paid off, the Telegraph reports.

Ben Chapman

Having repaid £295,000 of the loan in 2002, Mr Chapman continued to receive £15,000 over 10 months for the interest part of the mortgage which he no longer paid. According to the Telegraph, this situation was not unique to Mr Chapman.

Response: Mr Chapman says the Fees Office has informed him that the advice he was given in 2002 about what he could claim back on his mortgage was incorrect and he was effectively "misled". He regrets the error was not spotted earlier but that it was dealt with in 2003 when it emerged. He says he never intended to receive money he was not entitled to and stresses there is no evidence that this ever happened. He says he has done nothing wrong. However, he has decided to stand down at the next election because of the damage that the allegations have done to him, his family and his constituents.


Claim: The former Labour party chairman claimed £16,000 on furniture and decorating his second home but repaid it all last year after the rules on what MPs could claim for were tightened up.

Ian McCartney

Response: "I personally decided to ask for an audit of my old accounts based on the new system.

"All the amounts that I have claimed were with the rules and appropriate and had been approved. Despite the terrible flaws in the system I have done everything humanly possible to do the right thing."

The MP has since announced he will be standing down at the next election for health reasons.


Madeleine Moon


The Bridgend MP submitted receipts for more than £4,000 on furniture for her designated second home, in London, that was delivered to her constituency home in Wales.

Response: "The Welsh shop in Wales even when it is for installation in London by a London contractor."

Diana Johnson

Claim: Ms Johnson, a government whip and MP for Hull North, claimed nearly £1,000 for hiring an architect for a decorating project at her second home.

Response: Her spokesman said her home was in a conservation area and had required planning permission to replace the windows. The work was carried out after it had been found that the windows were rotten. All of the expenditure had been approved. However, Miss Johnson repaid the money around two months ago.


George Mudie


The MP for East Leeds claimed £62,000 in expenses over four years for his London flat while having a mortgage of £26,000. The fees office questioned him over buying furniture in Leeds despite having assigned his London flat as his second home.

Response: The Labour backbencher said that although bought in Leeds, the items were for his flat in London. He added: "The goods were purchased in Leeds mainly because I prefer shopping with my wife. They were transported to London when convenient, either by car (the smaller items) or by van."


Ian Davidson

Claim: The paper says Mr Davidson claimed nearly £1,500 for reclining furniture for his London flat although it was delivered to his main home in Glasgow. It reports that the MP paid a property search firm nearly £6,000 to help him find a flat, a proportion of which was reimbursed from public funds. It also says he paid a "family friend" £5,500 to renovate his second home.

Response: The MP for Glasgow South West, a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, says he employed a professional property firm after spending "many fruitless hours" looking for a flat in London. He said the Fees Office agreed the cost of this was "acceptable". The Commons authorities gave him permission to employ a Glaswegian firm to do essential work on his flat rather than a London-based one as it was cheaper, he added. The furniture was initially sent to Glasgow as his constituency home was always occupied while access to his London flat for deliveries was limited as it fronted onto a bus lane and had restricted parking. It was later delivered to London.

Ruth Kelly

Claim: The Daily Telegraph alleged that the former cabinet minister claimed £31,000 of taxpayers' money for flood damage to her second home, even though she had a building insurance policy at the time.

Ms Kelly also tried to claim £3,600 for a sofa and chairs, £2,355 for a dining table and chairs, and £2,000 for a plasma screen television but they were reduced by the fees office for being excessive.

Response: Ms Kelly insisted that she made an entirely legitimate claim after flooding at her constituency home. She told the BBC that "my claim was neither ludicrous claim nor a phantom claim", unlike others featured in the Telegraph. She argued that the furniture which she claimed to replace was "worthless" since it was 30 years old having been inherited from her parents - and so could not have been claimed on insurance. She says that the rebuilding work was handled in her absence whilst she was juggling being a minister and the mother of four young children. She concedes that she did not explore whether she could have claimed on her building insurance.

Natascha Engel

Claim: The North East Derbyshire MP spent £1,800 on a television, £2,900 on a sofa and £1,950 on a bed within months of being elected. She also claimed a total of £90 for 12 wine glasses and six champagne flutes. She says she told the fees office she did not want to claim the full amount for the household goods as she was aware that they were luxury items, before submitting her receipts. She received £750 each for the television and the bed plus £2,000 for the sofa.

Response: Ms Engel said she had put her expenses with explanatory notes on her website.

Sarah McCarthy-Fry

Claim: The junior education minister submitted a receipt for a £100 pair of hair straighteners. But she was told she would not be reimbursed because the fees office was "unable to allow costs relating to personal items, in this case hair stylers".

Response: Ms McCarthy-Fry, who is also MP for Portsmouth North, told the Daily Telegraph: "I fully accept this was a personal item that was claimed in error and was correctly rejected by the fees office."

Ian Gibson

Claim: The Daily Telegraph said Dr Gibson claimed for a flat which his daughter and her partner lived in rent-free. It also claimed the Norwich North MP then sold it to them for less than he paid and well below market value.

Response: Dr Gibson has insisted he acted within the rules and "made nothing on the house whatsoever". But he said he could understand why members of the public might think his arrangements were "unfair" and offered to stand down as an MP if his constituents wanted.


Claim: The chancellor claimed £10,000 towards the cost of furnishing the London flat he bought in 2005, according to The Telegraph.

Alistair Darling

Mr Darling bought the £226,000 property near the Oval cricket ground, claiming £2,074 for furniture and £2,339 for carpets. There was also a £765 claim from Ikea and £768 from Marks and Spencer's for a bed. The £146 cost of staying in a hotel while his flat was being renovated in September 2005 was rejected by the fees office on the grounds that the property was counted as his second home.

But Mr Darling successfully argued that he was "between second homes" and the bill was later paid. He also used his expenses to cover the stamp duty of £2,260 and legal fees totalling £1,238.

It was also reported that Mr Darling "switched" the location of his second home four times in four years, allowing him to claim thousands of pounds towards the cost of both his Edinburgh home and for the London flat.

In further disclosures about MPs, Mr Darling was said to have spent £1,400 for help filling in his tax return over two years.

According to more of the Telegraph's revelations, in July 2007, having just become chancellor, Mr Darling claimed £1,000 for the service charge at his south London flat.

This charge covered the six months to the end of year, during which time he had begun to claim second home allowances on his grace-and-favour home in Downing Street, and rent out the other flat.

Response: Mr Darling said: "The claims were made within House of Commons rules which were designed to reflect the fact that MPs have to meet the cost of living in two places."

He added that he had employed an accountant "to ensure that the correct amount of tax was paid in respect of my office costs".

On the service charge bill, Mr Darling's spokesman initially insisted that the report was wrong. However the chancellor has now said that he will repay £700 of the bill to cover the period when he was not living there.

"When I reclaimed the cost of the service charge in July I was living in the flat. However, because the service charge covered the period beyond September until December I will repay the service charge from September to December."


Claim: The communities secretary claimed for three different properties in a single year, spending almost £5,000 of taxpayers' money on furniture in three months, the Telegraph reports.

Hazel Blears

She also claimed for stays at London hotels after selling her flat. In March 2004, she declared her property in her Salford constituency was her second home and spent £850 on a television and video and £651 on a mattress. In April, she switched her second home to a flat in south London, claiming £850 a month for the mortgage.

In August, she sold the flat, making a £45,000 profit, and stayed in hotels over the following two months. In December, she bought another London flat for £300,000, claiming a monthly mortgage of £1,000 and a grocery bill of £400.

It was also reported that she claimed for accountancy services and a £219 digital camera.

Response: Ms Blears has admitted she did not pay capital gains tax (CGT) on the £45,000 profit from the flat sale and has agreed to repay £13,332. CGT is charged at 40% on the sale of homes the Inland Revenue does not consider to be a main residence. At the time, it was registered as her second home for expenses purposes. Ms Blears said she had complied with both Commons and Revenue and Customs rules but had agreed to repay the tax anyway. Ms Blears said her outlay on furnishings - such as mattresses and pillows - was "reasonable". She added that her use of an accountancy firm was in line with Commons rules.

Geoff Hoon

Claim: The Daily Telegraph said the Transport Secretary did not pay capital gains tax on the sale of his London home in 2006. Previously, it had reported that Mr Hoon switched his "second home" designation - refurbishing his family home in Derbyshire at taxpayers' expense before buying a London townhouse.

At the time he was defence secretary and later Commons leader and had a "grace and favour" Whitehall apartment. After losing that apartment in 2006, the newspaper says he bought a Georgian townhouse in Westminster and declared that as his second home. He went on to claim £21,995 in 2006/07 and £23,083 in 2007/8 - the maximum allowed. His monthly mortgage interest payments, picked up by the taxpayer, increased from £270 to almost £900.

The newspapers also said that his claims for accountancy services reached almost £3,000 over two years, and that he put a £200 digital camera on office expenses.

Response: Mr Hoon said he rejected "any suggestion of any wrongdoing" and said he had been "assiduous" in reporting his tax obligations. He said the Inland Revenue and a firm of chartered accountants he had consulted had both agreed there was no need to pay capital gains tax. A spokeswoman said he did not intend to repay any money and Downing Street has said it believes he complied with the letter and the spirit of the law.

In response to the earlier claims, Mr Hoon said he still had "significant costs" to meet at his grace and favour flat at Admiralty House - although it was rent free. "These were comparable to the costs I would have incurred if I had continued to live in my own property, therefore a claim under the ACA for my constituency home was not unreasonable," he said. He said officials told him it was within the rules and similar claims had been made by previous ministers. His claim for accountants was also within the rules, he added.


David Miliband

Claim: The foreign secretary claimed almost £30,000 for doing up his £120,000 constituency home over five years, it was reported. He spent up to £180 every three months on the garden at the property in South Shields. Additionally, he paid the husband of former Labour MP Meg Munn for tax advice.

Response: According to Mr Miliband's spokesman "at every stage, David Miliband followed procedures and rules as laid out by the parliamentary authorities."


Claim: The International Development Secretary's constituency home was damaged in a house fire in 2007 after he spent more than £30,000 on repairing it, according to the Telegraph.

Douglas Alexander

He told the fees office he was "under-insured" and claimed almost £2,000 on items lost in the fire, which he later repaid when his insurers reimbursed him. He claimed £2,413 in accountancy bills and £230 for a digital camera, but was forced to pay a £750 bill for Christmas cards himself after being told they were not covered by the allowance. He also reportedly charged for advice from media consultant Scarlett McGwire and paid for advertising at lower league Johnstone Burgh FC.

Response: Mr Alexander said that he had sought the advice of the Fees Office after the fire that damaged his property, "to obtain their guidance as to what it was appropriate to claim in these circumstances, given my continuing need for accommodation to allow me to undertake my work as an MP". He said the camera was used to take photographs of constituency events.

Jacqui Smith

Claim: The Home Secretary was reported to have bought husband Richard Timney, whom she employs as her assistant, a £240 Apple iPhone on her office expenses. Ms Smith had previously been forced to pay back £10 she had claimed for two adult films he watched.

She also charged the taxpayer for her accountancy costs and £1,600 for three digital cameras and a camcorder over three years.

Response: A spokesman for Ms Smith said the claims were needed for responses to "constituents' needs", according to the Daily Telegraph.

Harriet Harman

Claim: The Leader of the Commons claimed over £10,000 for the services of media consultant Scarlett McGwire. Ms Harman, who is Labour's deputy leader, submitted more than a dozen claims for the adviser's help between 2004 and 2007.

Response: A spokesman for Ms Harman said: "The sum paid to Ms McGwire was in respect of advising on and drafting speeches, including speeches on flexible working for parents, on tackling domestic violence and increasing childcare; drafting questionnaires to her constituents; editing of her annual report to her constituents on issues such as housing, the NHS and policing; editing of constituency newsletters; and editing of other reports for her constituency and parliamentary work."

Hilary Benn

Claim: The Environment Secretary claimed £1,882 for tax advice over a period of three years, the Daily Telegraph said.

Response: Mr Benn, who is the MP for Leeds Central, has not yet commented on the report.

James Purnell

Claim: The Daily Telegraph alleged that the work and pensions secretary avoided paying capital gains tax on the sale of a London flat after claiming expenses for tax advice from an accountant. The paper says he also charged for a £395 accountant's bill that included advice on the sale of his flat.

Response: Mr Purnell is challenging the allegation that he avoided capital gains tax. A spokesman said any such suggestion was "completely untrue". He said Mr Purnell sought advice that the rules were the same for MPs as other taxpayers and asked Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to double-check his calculations. The spokesman added: "When he bought his constituency home, the sale of his London flat fell through, but it was sold within the period that HMRC continue to treat it as not being liable for CGT. No one pays CGT when they sell the only house they own and James was not liable for capital gains tax on his London flat." HMRC confirmed that there was no capital gains tax to pay, the spokesman said. Downing Street has said it was backing Mr Purnell.


Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper

Claim: The Telegraph says Ms Cooper re-designated, or "flipped", her second home from a property in South Yorkshire to the London home she owned with her husband Ed Balls in 2005 - after he was elected to the Commons. After that, the paper says the couple each claimed half of the share of their £1,468 mortgage interest costs. In May 2007, the couple moved to a larger home in London and began claiming £1,031 each in mortgage interest as well as £2,000 in moving costs. According to the paper, the two submitted the same claim twice in July 2006. Additionally, Mr Balls was said to have charged £33 for two Remembrance Sunday poppy wreaths, although the claim was turned down.

Response: Ms Cooper, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said she sought advice from the Commons authorities before changing her second home arrangement in 2005. The two MPs say they split the cost of bills evenly and since moving in 2007, have claimed less than in allowances than in the previous two years. Between them, they claimed just over £24,000 in 2007-8, above the £23,083 limit for a single MP but well below the £46,000 threshold for couples. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner investigated their second home arrangement in 2008 and approved it, pointing out the couple had paid capital gains tax on the flat sale. The couple said the 2006 'double claim' was an inadvertent error and the correct amount was paid once spotted. Mr Balls added that the claim for the wreaths "was submitted in error by a staff member".

Bob Marshall Andrews


The Medway MP claimed £118,000 for expenses at his second home, including stereo equipment, redecoration and a pair of Kenyan carpets, the Daily Telegraph reported. In 2006 he claimed £750 for a "multi-room audio system" and £830 for a DVD recorder and other electrical products.

Response: Mr Marshall-Andrews said the claims for his TV and DVD recorder were met from second home allowances "in error". They were used mainly for office purposes and should have been claimed as such, he told the paper. He added that all his other claims had been "within the spirit and letter of the law".

Fabian Hamilton


The Leeds North East MP declared his mother's London home as his main residence, letting him claim thousands of pounds on improving his family home in Leeds, the Daily Telegraph said. He also overcharged by £2,850 in 2004 by claiming for full mortgage payments when he was entitled only to the interest, it added.

After being challenged by the Commons authorities, Mr Hamilton offset £1,950 of the overpayment by submitting receipts for furniture, while agreeing that £900 could be docked from his next month's claim to account for the rest.

Response: Mr Hamilton said he spent the majority of his time with his mother before her death, paying a "substantial" sum towards the upkeep of her house.

Austin Mitchell


Expenses submitted submitted by the Grimsby MP included 67p for Ginger Crinkle biscuits, 68p for Branston pickle and a bottle of malt whisky costing £22.99. In 2007, Mr Mitchell also claimed £2,938 for interior redecoration of his second home and £1,200 for re-upholstering sofas. He also had a bill for "security shutters" at his London second home turned down.

Response: Mr Mitchell's wife, Linda McDougall, told the Daily Telegraph that she had submitted the claims for food on her husband's behalf, and admitted that she "made mistakes". The MP himself said it had been necessary to have his sofas re-upholstered hundreds of miles away in Yorkshire because "because everything is cheaper and better there" but offered to donate the coverings to the Telegraph's offices. He added that he had suffered a series of break-ins prior to fitting the shutters, but there had been none since.

Harry Cohen


The Leytonstone and Wanstead MP claimed thousands for the redecoration of his second home before selling it and charging taxpayers £12,000 for stamp duty and fees on a new property, the Daily Telegraph said.

Among other items he was reported to have claimed were £1,222 for new blinds and £5,232 for furniture. Mr Cohen also claimed £4.25 for baby wipes and £8.75 for men's shaving oil.

Response: Mr Cohen said the house had been very dilapidated as the previous owner had lived there since 1933. He had used a back bedroom as an office, but his wife had a stroke while the refurbishment was being planned. This made it necessary to leave the three-floor property. He has offered to refund the cost of the toiletries.

Mike Hall


The MP for Weaver Vale in Cheshire charged almost £15,000 in three years for his house in Kennington to be cleaned and for his clothes to be laundered and ironed.

Response: Mr Hall said his claims were "legitimate and reasonable" and reflected the cost of having to live and work in London.

Liz Blackman


The ex-whip, who is MP for Erewash in Derbyshire, spent hundreds of pounds just prior to the end of the financial year to take her second home claim as near to the maximum as possible, the Daily Telegraph alleged. Last-minute items included a £199 DVD player, a £150 fax and a £99 rug.

Response: Ms Blackman told the newspaper that the household items for her rented London flat were purchased "with the full approval of the House authorities".

Maria Eagle


The junior justice minister spent thousands on refurbishing a bathroom at one of her flats before "flipping" her second home designation to another property, the Sunday Telegraph said. Ms Eagle, MP for Liverpool Garston, was paid £3,500 in expenses towards the cost of the work.

Response: Ms Eagle told the newspaper that she had been "scrupulous" about sticking to the rules. She said she had been required to designate her London property as her main home when she became a minister in 2001. When this rule changed she switched the designation because she spent more time in Liverpool.

Joan Ryan

Claim: The Enfield North MP - whose seat is a 40-minute drive from the Commons - claimed expenses for £4,500 of repairs at her constituency home before "flipping" her second home to another south London property, the Daily Telegraph said.

Response: Ms Ryan, a former junior Home Office minister, told the paper that the rules had required her to register her flat as her main home when she was in government because it was closest. But after she was dismissed from her role as Cyprus envoy, she switched it to the Enfield property as she spent more time there.

John Austin

Claim: The MP for Erith and Thamesmead claimed more than £10,000 for the redecoration of his London flat, which was just 11 miles from his main home, before selling it for a £30,000 profit, the Daily Telegraph reported. After buying a new property, he claimed £10,000 in stamp duty and other expenses incurred in the move and a further £15,000 for a new bathroom, kitchen, carpets, and appliances.

Response: Mr Austin said the report was "inaccurate and misleading" and said he was seeking legal advice.

Tommy McAvoy

Claim: The Deputy Chief Whip and Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West received £86,565 in second home expenses for his Westminster flat between 2004 and 2008. Most of these claims were mortgage interest payments of £1,000 a month, council tax and ground rent payments.

Response: Mr McAvoy has not responded to the report.

Ian Lucas

Claim: Mr Lucas - MP for Wrexham and a government whip - claimed approximately £1,000 a month for mortgage interest payments on a London flat, which he sold for a £45,000 profit, the Daily Telegraph said. Taxpayers were then billed £6,000 for sale fees. Mr Lucas then claimed almost £4,000 for staying in hotels before buying a new flat and claiming for stamp duty, purchasing fees, furniture and mortgage interest payments. He also spent £550 on a "hip hop" bed and extra-firm mattress, and £838 on a sofa bed.

Response: The MP said he been "scrupulous" in adhering to the rules, adding that he was "confident that I have achieved the appropriate balance between seeking the support I need to perform my duties as MP for Wrexham, and responsible use of the allowances available to me".


Claim: Ms Jones, an assistant government whip, claimed £87,647 on her London flat between 2004 and 2008, most of which was made up of mortgage interest payments.

Response: The Warrington MP told the Liverpool Daily Post: "The fees office has said there is nothing in my expenses that they are concerned about."


Claim: Ms Goodman claimed for a week's stay in a holiday cottage in her Bishop Auckland constituency over a bank holiday, the Daily Telegraph said.

It reported that she submitted a £519.31 claim to the fees office for the cottage in Romaldkirk, Teesdale, between 27 August and 3 September 2005.

Response: The MP - a government whip - told the BBC that she has a large, rural constituency and that before she had a house there she stayed in hotels or rented. During the summer 2005 recess, she wanted to work in the constituency for 10 days and it was cheaper to rent a cottage with her family than stay in a hotel. She worked every day of her stay and has the documentation to prove it, she added.

Khalid Mahmood

Claim: After splitting up with his wife, Mr Mahmood checked into a five-star London hotel with his then-girlfriend at taxpayers' expense.

The Daily Telegraph said the Birmingham Perry Barr MP used the Bentley in Kensington for nine nights over a four-week period in 2004 at a cost of £1,350.

He spent a further five nights there in 2008, claiming £1,225.

Response: Mr Mahmood said he had got the most deal possible for the taxpayer. "I tried looking for other places and that was the best I could get," he told the Daily Telegraph. Mr Mahmood, who gave up his rented London flat in December 2008, said using hotels was cheaper than paying for properties that were unoccupied for much of the year.

Mark Todd


The MP for South Derbyshire claimed £24,877 in expenses to refurbish his second home in London. Kitchen units, lighting, bathroom items, carpets, tiles leather chairs and a marble table were all among the goods for which he claimed.

Response: Mr Todd - who in 2007 announced his intention to stand down at the next election - said he would refund the fees office for an amount reflecting the items' depreciation when he retires.

Michael Clapham

Claim: Mr Clapham tried to claim £210 for a pair of glasses for his wife, Yvonne, who he employs as his office assistant, the Daily Telegraph said. But the fees office reduced his payment to £50, telling the Barnsley West & Penistone MP this was the maximum allowable for glasses. He also claimed £64 for dinner services and £19.97 for an iron.

Response: Mr Clapham points out that the dinner set was claimed on the wrong form and, although he was advised to resubmit it, he was too busy to do so. Consequently he never received the money and it will not appear on the official Commons expenses data when it is released.

Sir Peter Soulsby

Claim: The Leicester South MP claimed for bailiffs' fees after the rent on his constituency office fell into arrears. But the fees office said he was not liable for the £472.59 bill and refunded his claim.

Response: Sir Peter told the paper that the arrears were "entirely the fees office's fault" after they failed to process a bill.


Claim: The Derby North MP claimed £1,049 for a flat screen TV and £1,456 for a double bed in his London second home.

Response: Mr Laxton told the Telegraph that he "didn't really particularly have the time to run around and get deals on a TV or beds".

Quentin Davies

Claim: Mr Davies, who defected from the Conservatives to Labour, spent more than £10,000 repairing window frames at his 18th century mansion in Lincolnshire, the Sunday Telegraph reported. The defence minister - also MP for Grantham and Stamford - claimed close to the maximum allowable on second home expenses between 2004 and 2008.

Response: Mr Davies told the Telegraph that his expenses were "entirely legitimate" and that he had "absolutely nothing to hide". He insisted that the cost of upkeep on his home was considerably more than that for which he was reimbursed by the fees office.

Andrew Smith

Claim: The Oxford East MP claimed for renovations and repairs worth £30,000 on his south London home. Some of the invoices for the work, which included a new kitchen and bathroom, new windows and a hallway, were addressed to his constituency home.

Response: Mr Smith told the newspaper that he had kept to the spirit and letter of the rules, and that all goods claimed had been for the London property.

Angela Smith


Ms Smith, elected MP for Sheffield Hillsborough in 2005, claimed for four beds for her one-bedroom London flat, the Daily Telegraph said. The paper reported that she kitted out her flat in 2005 with items at a cost of £7,800 including a king-size bed and two futons. Then in 2006 she bought a £950 sofa bed and a chair worth £550 because she said the futons were broken. Ms Smith also claimed hundreds of pounds for tax advice from Dennis Bates, the husband of Labour MP Meg Munn.

Response: Ms Smith told the newspaper that she had not claimed for home contents in 2008/9 and would not do so again. She added: "Future replacement costs will be borne by myself." In a joint statement with three other MPs, she said that Mr Bates was was "eminently qualified" to give them advice, having worked for the Inland Revenue for 12 years.

Tom Levitt

Claim: The fees office rejected a £16.50 receipt submitted by Mr Levitt, the MP for High Peak, for the cost of a poppy wreath he laid during Remembrance Sunday commemorations. He was also asked to justify a £5,281 bill for renovations. This was granted, but the fees office refused to refund the full cost of fitting a bathroom at £8,013.77, the Daily Telegraph said. An examination of his previous mortgage interest payments by the fees office showed that he had over-claimed by £6,000, which he duly returned.

Response: Mr Levitt told the newspaper that the fees office was "quite right" to reject the poppy wreath claim. With regards to the bathroom, he said: ""The replacement was 'like for like' with the only 'enhancement' being a bathroom cupboard with a shaving mirror above the sink - there was not one there before. And labour costs in London are not cheap." He added: "As a former member of the Standards and Privileges Committee, my conscience is clear."

Meg Munn

Claim: Ms Munn's husband Dennis Bates was paid over £5,000 to provide tax advice to at least five ministers, the Daily Telegraph said. Ms Munn, the MP for Sheffield Heeley and a former Foreign Office minister, employs Mr Bates as her parliamentary assistant at taxpayers' expense. Ms Munn published her expenses claims on her website, but blacked out the section which showed she had paid her husband for tax advice tax using her expenses.

Response: Ms Munn has not yet commented. But in a statement, four of the ministers who received advice from her husband said Mr Bates, who worked at the Inland Revenue for 12 years, was "eminently qualified" to make sure MPs were meeting their liabilities.

Jim Knight

Claim: Mr Knight, the schools minister and MP for Dorset South, was one of several MPs who paid Dennis Bates, the husband of Labour MP Meg Munn, from their parliamentary allowances for tax advice, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Response: Mr Knight told the BBC that Mr Bates's services were cheaper than than those of the previous accountant he had used. In a joint statement with three other MPs, Mr Knight said that Mr Bates was was "eminently qualified" to give them advice, having worked for the Inland Revenue.

John Healey

Claim: Mr Healey, the local government minister and MP for Wentworth in South Yorkshire, was one of several MPs who paid Dennis Bates, the husband of Labour MP Meg Munn, from their parliamentary allowances for tax advice, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Response: In a joint statement with three other MPs, Mr Healey said that Mr Bates was was "eminently qualified" to give them advice, having worked for the Inland Revenue for 12 years.

Gillian Merron

Claim: Ms Merron, the foreign office minister and M for Lincoln, was one of several MPs who paid Dennis Bates, the husband of Labour MP Meg Munn, from their parliamentary allowances for tax advice, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Response: In a joint statement with three other MPs, Ms Merron said that Mr Bates was was "eminently qualified" to give them advice, having worked for the Inland Revenue for 12 years.

Nigel Griffiths

Claim: The former deputy leader of the Commons submitted receipts for £3,600 worth of electronic equipment. When the fees office questioned the claim for a TV, DVD player and digital radio in 2004, Mr Griffiths said that, as a Scottish MP, he needed to "listen to Scottish radio" and watch "Scottish TV".

The fees office turned down his request on the basis that the "level of purchase" remained under question.

Response: The Edinburgh South MP admitted that he had made the claim but that it had not been agreed.

"I asked the fees office whether these items were refundable and was told to put the request in writing, which I did. The fees office came to the view that they were not eligible for funding.

"None of the items were paid for out of any parliamentary allowance."

Frank Cook

Claim: The MP for Stockton-on-Tees claimed for a £5 donation that he made at a church service to commemorate the Battle of Britain. It was rejected by the House of Commons fees office.

Response: Mr Cook said he had "no recollection" of asking to be reimbursed, but accepted that the Telegraph would not have invented the claim and said it was "wrong" that it happened.

Gwynn Prosser

Claim: The MP for Dover and Deal paid his brother from his expenses to carry out work at his London flat, even though he lived almost 200 miles away. He also claimed for work done on another London property that he owned, although it was no longer his designated second home for three years and he was renting it out.

Response: Mr Prosser said that he had informed the fees office about employing his brother.

"I phoned a number of London contractors and their estimates for the flooring job alone was more than £200 more than my brother's charge for the whole job so it was good value for money."

On the subject of the other flat, the Labour backbencher said that he had done nothing wrong.

"I was living in the flat when the notices were published and the work was carried out. Six months later I moved to my current flat. The invoices for payment should have been sent to me when I was still resident and had they done this my ACA claim would have been settled forthwith."

Glenda Jackson

Claim: The former Oscar-winning actress repaid £8,000 she claimed towards the publication of an annual report.

She agreed to pay back the money because of a reference to the Labour Party which is a breach of parliamentary rules.

Response: The MP for Hampstead and Highgate said she had not fully read the document and missed the mention of Labour.

"I failed to proof read a line at the very end of the document which mentioned the party and I have paid back the money."

Roger Godsiff

Claim: The Telegraph says that the Labour backbencher made claims for a bath mat, gardening equipment and more than £7,000 for property repairs at his home in Birmingham, labelling them as office costs.

The Telegraph also suggests that Mr Godsiff claimed the maximum in second home expenses to cover the mortgage interest of his property in London.

Response: The Sparkbrook & Small Health MP says that he will check to see whether the report was correct.

"If there is anything that shouldn't have been claimed for then I will gladly go through the files and check it out, and if there is anything inappropriate then I will make recompense."

Mr Godsiff insists that all claims for his Birmingham home were approved by the fees office because it is also his office, where his secretary worked.

"She [his secretary] has an office on the property. She also has storage space, where all the old files are kept. The fees office was aware of the arrangement right from the beginning."

Charlotte Atkins

Claim: The Staffordshire Moorlands MP claimed more than £35,000 for renovations to her second home, which included £20,000 for windows and £4,000 for pulling down and rebuilding a chimney.

The parliamentary fees office disputed Miss Atkins claim, arguing that the request for the windows was "beyond the definition for allowable work set out in the Green Book" so she was not fully reimbursed.

Response: The Labour backbencher said that the property in Leeds did need some work. "I bought my second home cheaply because it required some repair so my mortgage interest claim was low but my repair bill was high."

Tom Harris

Claim: The former transport minister got involved in a row with the fees office over claims he made for a baby cot and steriliser at his second home in London.

Having had his claims for the items rejected by the fees office, Mr Harris wrote to them arguing that "MPs by necessity have to own two of almost everything".

Response: The Glasgow South MP argues that his claim was valid because he only lives in London as part of his job as an MP.

Brian Donohoe

Claim: The Telegraph reports that Mr Donohoe made a £2,575 claim for a three-piece sofa suite for his second home, designated as his London address, although the address on the invoice was his main home in Ayrshire.

Mr Donohoe produced another receipt with the London address and the fees office left it at that.

Response: The Central Ayrshire MP says that the items were intended for his second home.

"The furniture was in fact delivered to London, and is in my current flat."

Bob Ainsworth

Claim: The Daily Telegraph says Mr Ainsworth, MP for Coventry North East, submitted two invoices for £8,025 in 2005 for repair and redecoration of his second home in his constituency. Work carried out, according to the paper, included removing a wall, fitting oak beams in the ceiling, removing pipes next to the fireplace, preparing floors to be laminated, fitting pine doors and installing a gate. It says he also tried to claim for a £2,225 sofa and a £1,000 television but was told these were excessive. It adds that he switched his second home to a London flat in 2007.

Response: The armed forces minister said he was only reimbursed for necessary repair work - including removing a dangerous chimney, rewiring unsafe cables and fixing corrosive pipes - and paid for separate improvements out of his own pocket. All his claims were within the rules while he accepted the caps on the costs of the sofa and television.

David Kidney

Claim: Following inquiries by local media, the MP for Stafford raised concerns with the Commons authorities about his expenses claims for 2007-8. He was told that he had been overpaid for claims he made for council tax and water bills by £2,427.88. The Fees Office said it was "extremely sorry" for the situation which it said was caused by a "number of errors" within its operation.

Response: Mr Kidney said he was unaware of the discrepancy in his claims and "horrified" to learn of the Fees Office's mistakes. He has repaid the money.

Linda Gilroy

Claim: The Plymouth Sutton MP met with the Commons authorities to discuss her claims and found "significant changes" would have to be made. It emerged she had been under-paid in some years and over-paid in others while some claims had been attributed to the wrong years.

Response: Ms Gilroy said she would repay £1,891 and submit her claims to the Commons committee on members' allowances. But she insisted she had not made any financial gains and, if anything, had been left "out of pocket".

Nick Ainger

Claim: The Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire MP attempted to claim £3,371 for furniture, including £768 for a Man Ray styling chair and £1,434 for a sofabed, but was refunded only £3,075, the Daily Telegraph said.

Response: In a statement, Mr Ainger said: "I have been in the lowest quarter of MPs for claims in each of the four years." He has published his expenses on his website.

Graham Allen

Claim: Mr Allen, MP for Nottingham North, claimed £495 for the service charge on his London flat and the maximum £400 monthly for food "on most occasions", the Telegraph said. His food claims were reduced when he attempted to claim more than £500 a month on two occasions, the paper added.

Response: On his website, Mr Allen says: "The media constantly misrepresent the costs MPs need to do their jobs as 'expenses' - making people think that money is being paid into MPs' pockets. Electors who want to think for themselves cannot rely on the media: they need and deserve the truth." He says he supports a range of reforms including a Parliamentary block of flats in London for MPs to live in and a ban on second and third jobs for MPs.

David Anderson

Claim: The Blaydon MP's mortgage interest costs totalled £1,203 by April 2006, the Telegraph said. It added that he claimed for furniture, a washing machine and a microwave, as well as between £200 and £400 each month for food.

Response: Mr Anderson has not responded to the report to date.

Celia Barlow

Claim: Ms Barlow, MP for Hove, used her second home allowance to spend more than £28,000 on stamp duty, legal costs and renovations despite telling the fees office that the property would become her main home, the Daily Telegraph said.

Response: Ms Barlow told the newspaper that the fees office asked if she intended to make the Hove address her main home. "I said that I probably would do so which I did after the move to Hove was concluded," she added. "I was advised to claim for the cost of moving into the Hove home." She added that the move took time because her children went to school in Chichester and that she had stopped claiming Additional Costs Allowance in October 2006.

Kevin Barron

Claim: Mr Barron claimed a London flat in 2004/5 as his second home with a monthly mortgage interest of £1,509, which rose to £1,791 in 2005/6, the Daily Telegraph said. This increased in to more than £2,000 the following year.

Response: To date the Rother Valley MP has not responded to the report.

John Battle

Claim: The Leeds West MP claim the maximum £400 a month food allowance after consulting with the fees office, the Daily Telegraph said. He also claimed £499 for a dark brown sofa and £599 for a recliner.

Response: Mr Battle has not responded to the report.

Hugh Bayley

Claim: Mr Bayley, MP for the City of York, said a flat in London rather than York was his second home and claimed £1,177 monthly mortgage interest, the Daily Telegraph said. Later, he nominated York as second home, the paper added.

Response: Mr Bayley has not responded to the report.

Anne Begg

Claim: Ms Begg spent £1,403 on furniture for the living room of her London flat and £500 on Devonshire carpets for two bedrooms, the Daily Telegraph said. It also reported that the Aberdeen South MP claimed £85,245 over four years.

Response: On her website, Ms Begg wrote: "I feel confident that, as well as not breaking any rules, I have also acted in an ethical and responsible manner."

Sir Stuart Bell

Claim: Sir Stuart claimed £750 for food in December 2005, reduced to the maximum monthly amount of £400, according to the Daily Telegraph. He claimed £1,400 a month rent on his second home, a flat in London, the paper also reported.

Response: The Middlesbrough MP told the Journal newspaper that his claims were "perfectly reasonable".

Joe Benton

Claim: The Bootle MP claimed £400 a month for food during the 2005 summer recess, according to the Daily Telegraph. In 2008 spent £1,500 repairing his second home, the paper reported.

Response: Mr Benton has not commented on the report.

Roger Berry

Claim: The Kingswood MP's expenses for his London second home included a £696 Sony 26-inch LCD TV, a £250 DVD player, a £1067.49 washer-dryer, and a dishwasher costing £574.28, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Response: Mr Berry told the Bristol Evening Post: "I believe that I have been reasonable but I think there should be a completely independent group of people that go through every MP's expenses. They should have the power to order MPs to pay back anything they think is unreasonable and if they decided any of mine were, I would gladly do that."

Clive Betts

Claim: The MP for Sheffield Attercliffe claimed £1,268 for carpets, £689.99 for a television, £1,135.20 for a bed, £570 for a sofa bed; £1,220 on furniture and £1,433.50 on decoration, the Daily Telegraph said.

Response: On his website, Mr Betts said: "My intention, in submitting any claims, has been to comply with the spirit as well as the words of any rules and guidance."

Roberta Blackman-Woods

Claim: The City of Durham MP claimed £9,425.19 in stamp duty and other costs incurred buying a London flat and subsequently claimed £1,364.29 monthly for mortgage interest payments.

Response: Ms Blackman-Woods said her mortgage interest payments cost the taxpayer less than renting in central London. In a statement on her website, she added: "I have always been open, honest and transparent about the expenses and allowances I have claimed since serving as Durham's MP. I have had details of my expenses on my website for many years."

Bob Blizzard

Claim: Mr Blizzard, MP for Waveney, claims £1,278.25 each month for mortgage interest payments on his London second home, the Daily Telegraph said. It added that he "made few other claims", one of which was £363 for a washing machine.

Response: Mr Blizzard wrote on his website that "all of the money I have claimed from the 'second homes' allowances relates to the cost of living in London".

Tom Watson and Iain Wright

Claim: The two Labour ministers have claimed more than £100,000 for a shared London flat since May 2005, according to the Telegraph. The ministers each claimed for their share of the legal costs involved in purchasing the property and then later for the fees to buy the freehold.

Response: Neither has yet responded. Tom Watson stood down as a minister on 5 June, saying the the "pressure on my young family has been painful" during his time in office.


Three cabinet members in particular are singled out for their "modest" claims under the second homes allowance by the Telegraph. Energy Secretary Ed Miliband had only put in claims for £6,300 a year in rent for his constituency home and for utility and council tax bills. Health Secretary Alan Johnson rented a "modest" property but claimed for food and some furniture. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn claimed only £147.78 for food from the allowance which allows MPs to claim up to about £24,000 a year.

Laura Moffat, the Labour backbencher whose Crawley seat is the most marginal in the country, was singled out for praise by the Daily Telegraph. She gave up her flat overlooking the Thames for a camp bed in her office because she did not feel comfortable charging taxpayers for her rent.

Chris Mullin, MP for Sunderland South, gets by with a black and white TV. He claimed the reduced £45 licence fee on his second homes allowance.

Birkinhead MP and possible candidate for the Speaker's chair Frank Field claimed just £9,573 for his constituency home.

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