Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Sunday, 31 May 2009 16:18 UK

MP Cash to halt expenses claims

Bill Cash
Bill Cash says 'radical' reforms are needed

Veteran Tory MP Bill Cash has said he will stop claiming Parliamentary allowances until a watchdog has completed a review of the system.

Mr Cash was criticised for paying more than £15,000 of taxpayer-funded expenses to his daughter in rent.

He has already pledged to repay the money, which he claimed despite owning another flat nearer the Commons that was occupied, rent-free, by his son.

He said he would halt all claims until Sir Christopher Kelly reported.

Sir Christopher's Committee on Standards in Public Life is carrying out a review of MPs pay and expenses.

The party leaders have agreed to abide by its findings when it reports in the autumn.

'Serious questions'

Mr Cash, who is MP for Stone in Staffordshire, said his decision was "purely personal".

He described the current pay and expenses system as "tragically unworkable", but he also attacked the interim reforms being put in place by the party leaders as "arbitrary".

And he criticised Prime Minister Gordon Brown for comparing a review of all MPs claims dating back four years to the "star chamber", an infamous 17th Century court with no juries or right of appeal that sat in judgement on prominent people feared to be above the law.

Mr Cash, who Tory leader David Cameron said had "serious questions" to answer but is resisting calls to quit, insisted he had not enjoyed any financial benefit, but accepted he should not have made the claim.

Referring to suggestions that Mr Brown and Mr Cameron had come down harder on backbenchers than their frontbench colleagues, he said: "All must be treated in a totally consistent manner at every level of all the political parties equally.

"The Mother of Parliaments has been in this situation before in the past and has always come out of it strengthened."

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