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MPs' expenses cleared by Sir Thomas Legg

PUBLISHED: 11:08 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:25 25 August 2010

THE MPs who claimed £669.96 for a digital camera on their expenses and charged the tax payer £10,000 to decorate a second home before selling it at a profit have not been asked to pay back any money.

THE MPs who claimed £669.96 for a digital camera on their expenses and charged the tax payer £10,000 to decorate a second home before selling it at a profit have not been asked to pay back any money.

The head of Parliament's inquiry into MPs expense claims Sir Thomas Legg has asked the Prime Minister to pay back more than £12,400 but Erith and Thamesmead MP John Austin and sacked Tory Derek Conway MP have been told they do not need to pay back any money.

The QC was only asked to look into the second home allowance (Additional Costs Allowance) and therefore claims under the incidental expenses provision (IEP) have been left unchecked.

Last year under the IEP 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 taxpayers for Nespresso coffee advertised by George Clooney was £111.

Tax payers also footed the bill for another £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 IEP was actually bled dry at one point and he was unable to fund secretarial help from it, even though the allowance is only intended to cover the costs of running a constituency office.

But Sir Thomas Legg, has written to Old Bexley & Sidcup MP stating "Mr. Conway has no issues".

Mr Conway said: "I am pleased the Legg Inquiry has concluded that all was in order in my case."

John Austin has also not been asked to pay anything back, event though he claimed £10,000 to decorate a second home before selling it at a profit. The veteran Labour MP told the Times: "It was more or less the decision I was expecting."

MPs not in receipt of second home allowances are Bexley and Crayford MP David Evennett and Greenwich MP Nick Raynsford and fellow Labour MP Clive Efford for Eltham.

Today (10) parliament will publish the second home allowance (Additional Cost Allowance) of all MPs from last year (08-09) and the first quarter of this year (09-10).

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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