Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 17:31 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 politicians from other parties and their reaction to the reports.

CLARE SHORT

Clare Short

Claim: The Telegraph says the former Labour cabinet minister over-claimed on her mortgage by more than £8,000 between 2004 and 2006. During that period, it says, the now independent MP was reimbursed for capital and interest payments on a mortgage for her second home in Birmingham when she was only entitled to receiving costs for interest payments on the loan.

Response: Ms Short says she made an "honest mistake" and repaid the money in full - £8,436.36 - in 2006. She said she remortgaged her second home six months after leaving the cabinet in 2004. The error arose from the fact that, until 2003, she had had an interest only mortgage. After switching to a repayment mortgage, she continued to send bills to the fees office but her change in circumstances was not noticed until 2006. She said she was "embarrassed and irritated" it had taken so long for the authorities to notice this while stressing that she had not "milked" the allowances regime and the system had worked in spotting and rectifying the problem, long before the recent rows over expenses started.

ALEX SALMOND

Claim: Scotland's first minister voted on only six days in the Commons in the financial year 2007/8 yet claimed £1,751.50 for food - over a third of the maximum permitted annual amount, the Sunday Telegraph said.

Alex Salmond

Mr Salmond, who is MP for Banff and Buchan as well as MSP for Gordon, also claimed £800 for August and September 2005, when Parliament was in recess, the paper added. It said he claimed £3,200, the maximum food allowance, for eight months in 2005/6. In the same year he received £54.75 for towels, £540 for bed linen, £650.40 in curtains and £1,093 for a bed. Authorities also docked £9 from his claim for a stay at a hotel in London in July 2005 because he had included drinks from hotel room mini bar.

Response: Mr Salmond said his overall claims were £9,000 below the limit of the Additional Cost Allowance. He said he had furnished a rented flat in London in 2005 with a "job lot" of used furniture at a cost of just over £2,000, "which must be a record low figure for the House of Commons". The £9 drinks were deducted from his reimbursement because, even though they were non-alcoholic, they were not specified as such, Mr Salmond added. He said he had placed his expenses for the financial year 2007/8 on the Scottish National Party's website and would do so with the 2008/9 data as soon as it was available. Mr Salmond said that, during 2007/08, he was in London for around 30 days - and said the correct figure for the food allowance was £1,391.50, which equated to £40 per day. He added that he still had a rented flat in London for the first nine months of the year. In terms of 2005/06, Mr Salmond said MPs still went to London during recess, and pointed out that bills incurred during the parliamentary session, such as Commons dining facilities, often fell during that period.

ANGUS ROBERTSON

Claim: The SNP's Westminster leader successfully appealed a decision by Commons authorities to turn down his claim for a £400 home cinema system, the Daily Telegraph reported. Mr Robertson told the Fees Office a DVD player and recorder was bought to "catch up with recorded political programmes and also has a built-in radio function". Other purchases included a coffee maker, £100 on Sabatier knives and £20 for a corkscrew.

Angus Robertson

The SNP MP for Moray also bought a TV for £1,119, but the Fees Office only paid its recommended maximum of £750, while claims for furniture included £2,324 for a sofa bed from Habitat. The newspaper said Mr Robertson bought a £227,500 property in Lambeth, south London, in March 2006 and made second home claims totalling more than £80,000 in the four years from 2004 to 2008. The claims also included legal fees and £2,275 stamp duty.

Response: Mr Robertson said the claims were one-off accommodation set-up costs for a small flat and included "essentials" such as a bed, bedding, kitchen equipment and a TV. He said all the claims related to his parliamentary work, carried out on behalf of his constituents.

Mr Robertson also welcomed the "belated publication" of the information, and called for speedy reform to the Commons and Lords expenses systems.

SINN FEIN

Claim: The Sunday Telegraph suggested five Sinn Fein MPs had claimed a total of almost £500,000 in second home expenses by renting three London properties from the same family "at above the market norm". Both party president Gerry Adams and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness claimed £3,600 per month to rent a shared two-bedroom flat in north London. This was despite the fact the MPs refuse to take up their Commons seats.

Response: Party President Gerry Adams insisted that "no representative of Sinn Fein draws down expenses for self gain". He added: "It's entirely legitimate that we should have rented accommodation in London because we go there to do business on behalf of our constituents and will continue to do that until we have an all Ireland parliament on this island." But he accused other parties of "downright corruption" and called for reform of the system. A Sinn Fein spokesman added that the rent included parking, bills and housekeeping, which ordinary market rents did not.

PETER AND IRIS ROBINSON
Iris and Peter Robinson

Claim:

DUP MPs Peter and Iris Robinson claimed about £30,000 for food in parliamentary expenses over a four-year period, according to the Daily Telegraph. MPs are entitled to claim up to £400 per month in food bills while away from their main home on parliamentary business. The newspaper said the couple each claimed the maximum in most months.

The paper said the DUP leader and his Strangford MP wife also claimed £160,000 between 2004 and 2008 for mortgage interest payments on their apartment in London.

Response: Mr Robinson said the claims submitted were "consistent with House of Commons rules and after Fees Office advice". He said the money was claimed legitimately but both he and his party believed the system needed reform.

"There's a world of difference between those who legitimately claim within the rules and those who are clearly operating outside the rules," he said.

"I'd be pretty sure that the amount that I actually spend would be more than that for which I have claimed."

LADY SYLVIA HERMON

Lady Hermon

Claim:

Lady Hermon decided to personally reveal details of her expenses as the Daily Telegraph revelations continued. The Ulster Unionist Party's only MP repaid £2,730. She said two months' worth of rental allowance for her office was overpaid during 20/06.

Response: Lady Hermon said she had "naively assumed" that the Fees Office would have checked so was relaxed when the furore emerged over MPs expenses. She said she only discovered the error when she contacted the Fees Office.

She said that during 2005, when the claim was made, she had been coping with her husband's deteriorating health.

"I've never bought property nor had a mortgage in London; I didn't have a television at any stage, didn't watch DVDs of any nature, didn't claim for food in London, furnishings, security or cleaning, didn't claim for dog food, chandeliers or for any other weird and exotic items," she said.

EDDIE MCGRADY
Eddie McGrady
Claim: The Telegraph says the SDLP MP for South Down claimed more than £17,000 for London hotels. The paper reported that a £2,572 claim submitted by Mr McGrady for food, laundry and telephone bills over an eight-night period was turned down.

Response: Mr McGrady said his hotel bill was over a four-year period. He said he did not own or rent a second home and his claims were a fraction of the amount permissible. The claim for food, and laundry and telephone bills which totalled £2,572 was a genuine mistake. This amount was never paid, he said.



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