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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
McLetchie expenses 'misclaimed'
David McLetchie
David McLetchie has come under pressure over his expenses
The Scottish Conservative leader charged the Scottish Parliament for travelling to his party conference in the south of England, it has emerged.

The parliamentary body confirmed that David McLetchie misclaimed for a return flight to Bournemouth in 2002 and another trip to Selkirk in 2003.

The two journeys were unrelated to his parliamentary duties.

But Mr McLetchie insisted he had done nothing untoward and according to officials he has repaid the 250 sum.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: "Administrative errors resulted in these invoices being incorrectly settled from David McLetchie's allowances.

Full disclosure

"When David himself became aware of these errors, he contacted the allowances office and immediately reimbursed the parliament in full."

Earlier this week, the Scottish Parliament published the full details of Mr McLetchie's travel expenses over the last five years after the Freedom of Information Commissioner ruled that they should be disclosed.

The document provided details of taxi claims which confirmed speculation about regular trips he took from Holyrood to the Edinburgh legal firm where the Edinburgh Pentlands MSP worked at the time.

Many thousands of pounds worth of them don't have any details attached
Glenn Campbell
BBC Scotland political correspondent

Mr McLetchie said these trips were legitimate because he carried out parliamentary business from his firm's offices.

After reading the document, BBC Scotland political correspondent Glenn Campbell said: "You learn a number of things including the taxi journeys that David McLetchie has made over those years.

"Many thousands of pounds worth of them don't have any details attached. They are largely unexplained. He hasn't said where he was going or why.

"We're looking at a couple of claims over that period that basically he wasn't entitled to make.

"But what perhaps is equally interesting is having put down those journeys the parliament was happy to pay them on the nod."

Independent investigation

According to the parliament, Mr McLetchie spotted these errors in March 2005, just after some of the details of his travel expenses were made public in a freedom of information request.

The rules governing MSPs' expenses have since been tightened.

But Govan Law Centre solicitor, Mike Dailly, has called on Audit Scotland to launch an investigation.

No-one has the foggiest idea whether these expense claims are proper or improper
Mike Dailly
Govan Law Centre

"What I've said to the auditor general is that McLetchie must produce details of what he has claimed for," he said.

"As matters stand there is 5,000 unaccounted for, this is public money.

"He has not indicated on his expenses form the purposes of the journeys that were incurred, the details, the start and end point.

"No-one has the foggiest idea whether these expense claims are proper or improper."

He added that if Mr McLetchie was unable produce details he should repay the money claimed.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear details of Mr McLetchie's claims



SEE ALSO:
McLetchie taxi details revealed
07 Oct 05 |  Scotland
McLetchie pressed on taxi claims
14 Jun 05 |  Scotland
MSP expenses hit a total of 8m
22 Dec 04 |  Scotland
MSPs' expenses revealed
04 Dec 03 |  Scotland


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