Page last updated at 12:48 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 13:48 UK

Scots MPs named in expenses saga

Nigel Griffiths and Brian Donohoe
Nigel Griffiths and Brian Donohoe have been named by the Telegraph

Two Scottish Labour MPs are among the latest MPs to be investigated by the Daily Telegraph over expenses.

The newspaper claims Nigel Griffiths, who represents Edinburgh South, tried to claim £3,600 for a digital TV, DVD and digital radio.

It also says Ayrshire Central MP Brian Donohoe was challenged by the Commons fees office over the purchase of three sofas costing more than £2,500.

Both MPs said they had followed the rules over the claims.

The Telegraph said that when Mr Griffiths' claim for the TV, DVD and radio was queried by the fees office he wrote: "As a Scottish MP, I can only keep in touch with events during the day, which might affect my constituents, by tuning into the Scottish radio stations which the digital set provides.

"Likewise, I record the Scottish TV news and Scottish current affairs programmes, which feature issues in Scotland and in south Edinburgh. In a cramped London flat, flat-screen TV is the sensible option."

The fees office wrote back saying: "An amount of £3,604.99 is not considered to be an appropriate use of public funds when other more reasonably priced options are available."

'Not eligible'

Mr Griffiths told the Telegraph he bought the television and DVD player to replace the old 1980s ones he had.

"I mainly use [them] to watch recordings of Scottish TV news programmes affecting my constituents," he said.

"I also purchased a digital radio, again primarily for listening to BBC Radio Scotland and other stations carrying news of relevance to my constituents.

"I asked the fees office whether these items were refundable and was told to put the request in writing, which I did. The fees office came to the view that they were not eligible for funding.

At the time this work was done on the windows and bathroom, I was planning to stay in the flat. I didn't know I would be selling it later that year
Brian Donohoe MP

"None of the items were paid for out of any parliamentary allowance."

The paper also said Mr Griffiths made other claims which were approved, for decorating his second home, including one for more than £9,250 in 2004.

Mr Griffiths said he had decided to redecorate after 14 years and the cost, mainly for labour, "was not exceptional".

In March, the politician said he was "ashamed" after the News of the World reported that he cheated on his wife inside the House of Commons.

He said he had "little recollection of the evening" but said his behaviour had "fallen below acceptable standards".

The MP, a long-time friend of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, had been deputy leader of the House of Commons before resigning two years ago over the decision to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system.

He had previously been construction minister and enterprise minister.

Fees office

Meanwhile, the Telegraph also reported that Mr Donohoe was challenged by the Commons fees office over the purchase of the three sofas - because the receipt was for his main home in Ayrshire not his second home in London.

It claims that he then submitted a new receipt with his London address on and told the paper the furniture was delivered to his London flat.

The Labour MP also spent more than £12,000 on renovations and furniture for the property in London - including £6,000 on a bathroom - in the year before he sold it in 2005.

Mr Donohoe told the paper: "At the time this work was done on the windows and bathroom, I was planning to stay in the flat. I didn't know I would be selling it later that year.

"The furniture was in fact delivered to London, and is in my current flat."

He bought another flat the following year for £430, 000 and charged the taxpayer the £1,730 in legal fees.

Mr Donohoe has published his expenses on his website. They show that he regularly claims £400 a month for food, £250 in petty cash, without the need for receipts, and £100 per month for a cleaner.

He also claimed for a £1.59 toothbrush, 69p for toothpaste, £2.99 for cockroach traps, and £4.69 for insect killer.



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