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Expenses in the spirit of MP rules’

PUBLISHED: 12:01 15 October 2009 | UPDATED: 17:15 25 August 2010

AN MP who claimed £10,000 to decorate a second home before selling it at a profit is confident a new government inspector will find his claims within the spirit of the rules . Erith and Thamesmead MP, John Austin, (pictured below) was responding to Sir

AN MP who claimed £10,000 to decorate a second home before selling it at a profit is confident a new government inspector will find his claims "within the spirit of the rules".

Erith and Thamesmead MP, John Austin, (pictured below) was responding to Sir Thomas Legg's appointment to scrutinise members' second home bills - Additional Cost Allowances (ACAs).

Sir Thomas has retrospectively applied "fundamental principles of propriety" to thousands of claims previously signed off by the Commons fees office, based on The Green Book or so-called John Lewis List.

The principles mean ACAs must not be extravagant or luxurious, above reproach and avoid the appearance of benefit.

MPs claiming second home allowances have been sent a letter by Legg stating if they have any money to repay, subject to challenge.

Mr Austin said: "I have previously stated that I believe all my claims to have been both within the rules and the spirit of the rules and was quite happy to submit my claims for an objective, independent investigation.

"I am confident that The Legg Inquiry will not identify any irregularities in regard to my claims but I will accept Sir Thomas' findings.

"Sir Thomas Legg has not yet completed his enquiries and I do not propose to make any further statement until he does."

Sidcup and Old Bexley independent MP Derek Conway was suspended from Parliament in January 2008 for "misuse" of funds.

A statement from Mr Conway's office said: "MP Derek Conway has received a letter from Sir Thomas Legg confirming that his expense claims as an MP had been in order and there is nothing to repay. All three main Party Leaders are making repayments."

MPs not in receipt of second home allowances are David Evennett (Bexley and Crayford), Nick Raynsford (Greenwich and Woolwich) and Clive Efford (Eltham and Plumstead).


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