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Conway pension morality’ row

PUBLISHED: 16:04 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:45 25 August 2010

THE man in charge of cleaning up the MPs expenses system says a sacked Tory should question his morality in claiming his full pension.

THE man in charge of cleaning up the MPs expenses system says a sacked Tory should question his 'morality' in claiming his full pension.

Independent Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Derek Conway assured a documentary presenter on Monday that he would claim "all he was entitled to" after leaving the House of Parliament.

However, Sir Christopher Kelly, the man tasked with reforming the crumbling expenses system agreed this was hard for the public to swallow.

He said: "Whether the right response to that is to change some rule or whether it is for Derek Conway's personal conscience is another matter.

"I certainly think he should reconsider the morality of what he is doing."

This comes after the father-of-three had his receipt claims exposed by a Saturday newspaper.

The Fees Office turned down claims for a £160 Smythson pigskin wallet, a £165 Mont Blanc rollerball pen and an £84 engineer's bill to retune his television at his Westminster flat.

Conway claimed expenses to cover his mortgage interest and household bills at his designated second home, a flat in central London.

But he also successfully claimed hundreds of pounds in office expenses for a family-owned house in Morpeth, Northumberland, even though it was more than 330 miles away from his Sidcup home.

In 2008 Mr Conway claimed £135 for 21 items of Wedgwood China from House of Fraser, for "office crockery", £31 for a Smythson diary, £249 for a vacuum cleaner, £220 for repairs to a brief case, £675 for a Canon digital camera and £229 for a Nespresso coffee maker.

At one point his monthly bill to tax payers for Nespresso coffee advertised by George Clooney was £111.

Taxpayers also footed the bill for a £669.96 digital camera, a £573.99 television, a £199 Zanussi fridge freezer, a £174 "low radiation" telephone and a £399 sat nav device.

His incidental expenses provision (IEP) which these were all claimed from was actually bled dry at one point and unable to fund secretarial help from it. The IEP is intended to cover the costs of running a constituency office.

Mr Conway refused to comment.

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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