Page last updated at 19:26 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

MP Kirkbride 'in election U-turn'

MP Julie Kirkbride is asked if she intends to stand in Bromsgrove or anywhere else at the next general election

Conservative MP Julie Kirkbride has refused to comment on reports that she has changed her mind about standing down over expenses revelations.

According to the ConservativeHome website, she has told the Bromsgrove Conservative Association she wants to rescind her resignation.

Asked about the report, she told the BBC she had "nothing to say" other than what she had said in May.

In May she informed Tory leader David Cameron she would not seek re-election.

Her decision to resign followed controversy over the expenses she and her fellow-MP husband Andrew Mackay had claimed.

Following the furore caused by the leaking of the expenses claimed by MPs, an audit was conducted by lawyer and former civil servant Sir Thomas Legg.

ConservativeHome, an independent Tory supporting blog, reported that party HQ is seeking an all-postal open primary to select a candidate in Bromsgrove and that Ms Kirkbride informed the constituency's executive that she would like to be considered for the contest if she was cleared by Sir Thomas Legg's audit of the past four years' expenses claims .

A Conservative spokesman said: "We can't comment while Sir Thomas Legg is conducting his review."

Julie Kirkbride
Ms Kirkbride had said she would not seek re-election

Ms Kirkbride, who has been MP for Bromsgrove since 1997, became a controversial figure after it emerged that she claimed thousands of pounds in Commons allowances against her family home in her Worcestershire constituency.

Meanwhile her husband - who represents Bracknell, in Berkshire, but has no base there -received subsidy on the property the couple shared in London.

It meant all the couple's accommodation was effectively paid for by the taxpayer, which angered some voters and led to an anti-Kirkbride petition in Bromsgrove.

In July, when rumours that Ms Kirkbride was reconsidering her decision to stand down first surfaced, Mr Cameron appeared to indicate that a return was not out of the question.

At the time, the Conservative leader said: "She decided to stand down. I think that was a courageous decision.

"I haven't been told that that has changed, but obviously she has to be looked at by the Legg Commission. They are looking at everyone's claims in Parliament, and I think it is very important that that happens."



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