Page last updated at 23:22 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell repays 10,500

Austin Mitchell MP
Austin Mitchell has been a Labour MP since 1977

Labour MP Austin Mitchell has repaid more than £10,000 in parliamentary expenses after breaking the rules on claims for mortgages.

The veteran backbencher, who represents Great Grimsby, apologised for inadvertently claiming for capital repayments, rather than just interest.

Mr Mitchell said he had been "careless" and had since changed his mortgage.

The £10,549 repayment follows an inquiry by Sir Thomas Legg, the auditor looking at MPs' expenses.

Mr Mitchell, a former academic and journalist, has been a Labour MP since 1977.

'I am sorry'

He told the BBC: "Sir Tom Legg's re-analysis of MPs' Additional Costs Allowances (ACA) has discovered an error in my mortgage claims which has resulted in an overpayment of £10,549. Sir Tom's analysis is correct.

"My mortgage is on an interest only basis but an authorised addition to it in 2006 was, for some reason and certainly not at my request, put by the bank on to a repayment basis.

"I was careless not to recognise this but the regular bank statements gave only a single sum with no distinction between interest and repayment.

"An overpayment occurred and I have paid this back to the Fees Office and changed the mortgage.

"I am releasing this information now ahead of whatever announcements Sir Tom Legg makes on claims for repayment by the generality of members because I have no wish to contest his ruling in my case. I am sorry."

Former civil servant Sir Thomas has been carrying out an audit of all MPs' past claims - back to 2004 - under the ACA, in the wake of last summer's expenses scandal.

He has requested that several other politicians repay sums amounting to thousands of pounds.

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