Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Saturday, 16 May 2009 11:21 UK

MP denies abusing home expenses

Chris Bryant MP
Chris Bryant MP says he moved house for security reasons

A Welsh MP has denied changing his designated second home twice in two years in order to claim more expenses.

Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda, has been accused in the Daily Telegraph of benefiting from second home payments by "flipping" his main home.

But Mr Bryant, who is Deputy Commons Leader, said the reports were "unfounded and inaccurate".

The MP said he moved to a more secure property in Porth, Rhondda, after "a series of attacks on my home".

He added that he had asked the Fees Office what work on the new place he could claim back.

Mr Bryant has become the latest from Wales caught up in the expenses row.

The Daily Telegraph said the MP "flipped" his second home twice in two years, to take advantage of second home payments.

I believe that all of MPs' pay and allowances should be set, administered, monitored and audited by an independent body
Chris Bryant MP

But in a statement Mr Bryant said: "My constituents in the Rhondda know I would never break the rules or the spirit of the rules."

He said that in 2003 there was a series of attacks on his home in Stanleytown, Rhondda, so he decided to move to a "less isolated and more secure property" in the constituency.

"I notified the Parliamentary fees office of the costs of some of the work done to my new home in Porth in the Rhondda," he said.

"I made it clear I never expected all of this to be paid by them. I explicitly asked them what, if anything, it was appropriate to claim for. I followed their advice."

Transparency

He said he re-designated his second home depending on where he spent most of his time.

"When I have spent more time in Parliament in London than in Wales I have nominated my London flat as my main home, but when I have spent more time in my constituency than in London I have nominated my Rhondda home as my main home, as the rules specify," he said.

Mr Bryant said he "always sought and followed the advice of the Parliamentary Fees Office" and supports the publishing of all of MPs' receipts "as soon as possible".

"I also believe that all of MPs' pay and allowances should be set, administered, monitored and audited by an independent body," he added.

"MPs should not set their own terms and conditions. I have always voted in favour of transparency and for reform of the system.

"Spreadsheets with my allowance claims are published on my website."



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