MPs claim expenses for renting when they already own homes
Latest wheeze: 27 MPs let out their homes in the capital and claim expenses to live elsewhere
THE ISSUE of MPs expenses has reared its head once again with The Daily Telegraph claiming that dozens of politicians are using public money to rent homes in London even though they already own properties in the capital, which they are renting out at a profit.
According to the Telegraph, 27 MPs, including former ministers, are claiming as much as £20,000 a year to cover their rents, even though they are already receiving money from their other properties, some of which were originally paid for and refurbished using public money.
The paper also reports that at least eight MPs are either letting properties to, or renting from, one of their colleagues in Westminster, and benefiting from what it calls "a loophole in the rules that effectively allows them to continue building up property nest-eggs at taxpayers' expense".
On Thursday it emerged that Commons Speaker John Bercow (above) had asked the parliamentary expenses watchdog not to reveal the identity of MPs' landlords. Doing so would have exposed the politicians who were renting homes to each other. The Speaker argued that it would also have jeopardised MPs security as their addresses would be available to the public.
Among the MPs who rent in London while making money on other flats include former Defence Secretary Liam Fox, and shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant. Neither rents to or from other MPs.
"While they have done nothing wrong under parliamentary rules, the disclosures will prompt questions about how taxpayers' money is being used and lead to greater demands for transparency from MPs about their expenses," says the Telegraph.
The Daily Mail also reports on the latest allegations and names Halifax MP Linda Riordan as one of the politicians involved. It says she rents her £400,000 London flat to fellow Labour MP Iain McKenzie, who pays her £1,560 a month. Riordan also claims £1,473 a month on expenses to rent a separate flat for herself in the capital.