Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 18:46 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 leading Lib Dem politicians and their reaction to the reports.


Claim: The Telegraph said the Lib Dem leader exceeded the limit for claims on his second home allowance by more than £100 last year - the surplus was deducted by the Fees Office.

Nick Clegg

Mr Clegg claimed stamp duty, land registry and legal costs - worth £9,244.50 - on the purchase of his constituency home in 2005. Mr Clegg went on to spend £2,600 on a new kitchen, £5,857.63 on decorating and £760 for the repair of a garden path. His home phone bill included four calls to Colombia, three calls to Vietnam and 21 calls to Belgium.

Response: Mr Clegg has acknowledged that repairs on his constituency home will affect its value and has said he will hand back any profit he makes on its eventual sale to the taxpayer. He says the international calls should never have been charged to the taxpayer and he has repaid the bill for them - £80.20. Mr Clegg published his expenses details in full last year and has insisted on maximum transparency and accountability from both himself and his MPs.


Claim: The paper says the party's home affairs spokesman claimed for a £119 Corby trouser press, delivered to his London home despite his second home being in Hampshire.

Chris Huhne

Mr Huhne owns his constituency home outright but has claimed for its upkeep - including a £5,066 bill in 2006 for external repainting including preservatives for fences and garden items. Claims for the running cost of Mr Huhne's parliamentary and constituency offices included 79p for a packet of HobNob biscuits and a £85.35 bill for "mounting and framing" a picture of himself.

Response: Mr Huhne has repaid the cost of the trouser press and said it has been moved to his constituency home. The framed picture was bought at the request of his local council to hang in a civic centre, he said, while the biscuits were bought by his staff for their own use. Mr Huhne told the BBC he was irritated by the report as he had one of the lowest claims out of all MPs, having claimed only £3,970 of the £24,000 allowance last year. "I am not one of the MPs who are trying to milk the system," he said.


Lib Dem MP Richard Younger-Ross

Claim: Culture spokesman and Teignbridge MP Richard Younger-Ross is revealed to have claimed more than £4,000 for mirrors, a hi-fi and a £1,475 chest of drawers for his rented London flat.

Response: Mr Younger-Ross told the Press Association: "At the time I did not think these were luxury items. Clearly people think they are. If I got that wrong, I apologise. Many MPs come from middle-class and upper-class backgrounds so our idea of what a luxury item is is probably different to someone who is struggling. Our perception is wrong." Mr Younger-Ross said he would repay the money to the Fees Office in person as soon as possible.


Claim: According to the Telegraph, the MP for St Ives claimed £847 a month in mortgage interest payments on a south London flat bought in 2007.

Andrew George

However, it says the home insurance policy on the property was taken out in the name of his 21-year old daughter, Morvah. Parliamentary rules state MPs can only use the second home allowance to pay for living costs they incur themselves. Shortly after buying the flat, Mr George made a £3,999 claim for furniture and household items, a claim which the Fees Office said was too high and trimmed to £1,488.95. Later, he claimed a further £1,343.81 in household goods and redecoration including a new bath. A claim for removing an "archway" between the flat's hallway and lounge was rejected.

Response: Mr George said his daughter had used the London flat occasionally in recent months and kept some belongings there. However, he said she was not living there over the period in question, as she was staying in University premises and then elsewhere in London. He said he paid for a third of the cost of the flat himself and half of the cost of the furniture and believed it was "reasonable" his daughter should be able to use the flat from time to time. On insurance, Mr George said he and his wife already had a policy with the Post Office for his main home in Cornwall and were told they could not have another policy in their names. He, therefore, asked his daughter if she could be the named person on the policy. He said he had done absolutely nothing wrong with regards to his claims for the flat.


Sir Menzies Campbell

Claim: The Telegraph reported that the former Lib Dem leader claimed nearly £10,000 to refurbish his second home, a small flat near Parliament, in 2006. The spending included £528.75 on blinds, £1,420 for bedside shelves, £1,024 for a king-size bed and £1,515 for decorating. Between 2004 and 2008, Sir Menzies also claimed £4,700 for parking charges at his flat despite having access to free parking at the House of Commons.

Response: In a 2006 note to the Commons Fees Office, Sir Menzies said his flat - which he has rented for 20 years - had not been properly maintained since 1989 and needed attention. The alternative to this would be for him to move into a larger property. He pointed out that he had not claimed the full second homes allowance in previous years, having "substantially underspent" on the entitlement. Even with the cost of the refurbishment, Sir Menzies' claims did not exceed the permitted allowance. Sir Menzies said he needed the parking space at his flat as he had difficulty walking long distances and needed to drive between the flat and the House of Commons. He said he believed his claims were within the "spirit and the letter of the rules".


Claim: The former housing spokesman claimed £40 for a court summons he received for the non-payment of council tax in 2006.

Lembit Opik

Response: Mr Opik said he made an "innocent mistake" in making the summons claim, having taken the "eye off the ball" after a personal tragedy. He said he would discuss the matter with the Fees Office and was willing to repay the money. He said he had saved about £14,000 by having a tenant in his second home property.


Julia Goldsworthy

Claim: The paper says the housing spokeswoman spent thousands of pounds on furniture, including a rocking chair from department store Heal's, after moving into a London flat in 2006. The claims were submitted just before the deadline for expenses that year, the paper said.

Response: Ms Goldsworthy said the flat in question was unfurnished and that her claims had been "reasonable". She had only claimed part of the cost of the rocking chair and had not claimed for other items.


Phil Willis

Claim: The Telegraph says Mr Willis has claimed thousands of pounds in second home allowances on two neighbouring flats in London since 2004, one of which is now occupied by his daughter. Between 2004 and 2007, it reports he claimed £12,653 on mortgage interest payments, £1,275 for an electrical system, £1,036 for drain cleaning and £2,150 for decoration on a property in south London. After buying a property next door in 2007, he re-designated this as his second home and claimed £2,713.68 in legal costs and stamp duty. He then had the flat decorated, at a cost of £1,700, the paper says. The Telegraph says the first flat is now occupied by the MP's daughter, Rachel. Official documents indicate the first flat is still registered in the name of Mr Willis and his wife while Mr Willis and his daughter are recorded as joint owners of the second property.

Response: Mr Willis said his daughter was not a "permanent resident" in the first flat. The second flat was registered jointly in his name and that of his daughter because of concerns about his health after a stroke. He said he had never "knowingly" made claims which violated the rules. He said he supported calls for MPs making a capital gain on the sale of an allowance-funded home to repay that money.

Jo Swinson

Claim: As part of her expenses claims the Dunbartonshire East MP, the youngest in the Commons, submitted receipts for a number of small items including eyeliner, a £19.10 "tooth flosser" and 29p dusters.

Response: Ms Swinson, who was just 25 when she was elected in 2005, denied claiming for eyeliner. But she admitted using expenses to pay for other everyday items. She told the Daily Telegraph: "None of these items would have been necessary for me to buy were I not living away from home for half the week."

Sir Alan Beith and Baroness Maddock

Claim: Sir Alan, the first MP to declare an interest in succeeding Michael Martin as Commons Speaker, claimed £117,000 in second homes allowances while his wife, Baroness Maddock, claimed £60,000 from the House of Lords for staying at the same address.

Response: The couple told the Daily Telegraph that they stayed within the spirit and the letter of the rules. Lady Maddock said she only claimed half of the expenses to which she was entitled, while Sir Alan, MP for Berwick upon Tweed, claimed just half the couple's rent.

Charles Kennedy

Claim: The Telegraph said the former Lib Dem leader's claims included a £35.75 invoice for chocolate mints and toffee bears. The authorities agreed the claims, which paperwork suggested were intended to be charitable prizes. He also claimed for a £18 poppy wreath, the paper added. Mr Kennedy is also reported to have been reimbursed for a cost of a £198 taxi trip between Peebles and Fort William.

Response: The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said the claims for chocolates and the wreath had been an error and he had repaid the money. Mr Kennedy said the taxi trip - taken after he gave an after-dinner speech - was valid as he had engagements in his constituency the next morning.

Malcolm Bruce

Claim: The Telegraph said Mr Bruce was able to claim expenses towards his main home in Scotland as well as his second home in London as his wife works at the former property as his office manager and diary secretary. He was able to claim for household bills in Scotland under the Incidental Expenses Provision, intended to cover office costs, because of the arrangement, the paper said. Between 2006 and 2008, he claimed more than £3,000 for electricity, heating and cleaning at the Scottish property.

Response: Mr Bruce said he had "no regrets" about the claims and the cost of electricity and heating were justifiable given the fact his wife worked from home. This arrangement suited him and his wife as they have a young family and made it easier to juggle family and work and reduced travel costs.

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