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Expense row MPs fess up

PUBLISHED: 18:35 20 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:45 25 August 2010

SHOCKED’: Nick Raynsford, MP.

SHOCKED’: Nick Raynsford, MP.

Times special parliamentary report MORE MPs have come clean with your Times to reveal their involvement in the expenses scandal now rocking the country.

Times special parliamentary report

MORE MPs have come clean with your Times to reveal their involvement in the expenses scandal now rocking the country.

Greenwich and Woolwich MP Nick Raynsford, a former minister, admitted he was shocked and embarrassed by the farago and called for a 'firm and fair' Commons Speaker to replace Michael Martin who announced his resignation on Tuesday.

The Greenwich MP called for second homes to be banned where MPs can commute to Westminster in an hour.

Mr Raynsford, who does not have a second home, said: "The proposals set up last night were a very sensible and very important step in the right direction.

"The tragedy is that these measures should have been brought in years ago when voices were first raised about expenses. To end this damaging episode there must also be proper investigation into some claims, criminal investigations where necessary, and requirements for repayment for inappropriate claims.

"A new speaker needs to be elected who will claim support from across the House and watch over it fairly and firmly."

Former Local Government Minister Mr Raynsford claims an average of £110,175 a year.

David Evennett, Conservative MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, said that 80 per cent of his average £95,073 annual expenses paid for staffing costs.

He said: "It is good news that the Speaker has stood down.

"But I have had no complaints about my expenses. I am rather frugal. I have never claimed for food or accommodation."

Eltham MP Clive Efford complained to the Times the expenses system was "corrupting" and said that expenses vary widely between MPs.

Mr Efford claimed more than £2,000 for travel last year, whilst Mr Evennett claimed nearly £2,500 and Erith and Thamesmead MP John Austin MP claimed around £1,500.

Mr Raynsford claimed nothing for travel, whilst Derek Conway MP, who was kicked out of the Conservative Party last year, claimed more than £5,500.

The disgraced Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Derek Conway told the Times that MPs have been underpaid "for years and years".

He said: "The public probably think MPs aren't worth ten pence a week.

"But the sort of MPs that will come through will be rich men who do not care what the press think of them."

Parliament is due to publish a full list of MPs' expenses in July.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

A solution to the expenses scandal?

Proposals due to be debated by MPs...

- A £1,250 a month cap on claims for mortgage interest, rent or hotel accommodations.

- Second home claims for furniture, gardening, household goods and stamp duty to be banned.

- Married MPs must claims the same home as their main residence.

- No changes to second home designations for the rest of the year.

- MPs must make clear to the taxman and the public when they are claiming Additional Costs Allowance and need to pay Capital Gains Tax.

- A team of investigators to trawl through the last four years of MPs receipts.

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