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MPs set for expenses vote

PUBLISHED: 17:36 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 14:57 25 August 2010

MPs were set to vote this week on recommendations which change the way they claim expenses.

MPs were set to vote this week on recommendations which change the way they claim expenses.

In an attempt to rid the system of its sleazy image, Parliament was expected to agree to amendments laid out in a report commissioned in the wake of the Derek Conway scandal.

The Old Bexley and Sidcup MP was de-whipped in February and vowed not to stand in the next general election after he was found to have misused his staffing allowances by paying his son £50,000 for work there was no evidence of.

A report, published last Wednesday by the Members' Estate Committee, recommended that MPs would have to submit receipts for all expenses which would also be available to the public and that 20 per cent would be randomly scrutinised by auditors. MPs will no longer be able to claim items on the so-called 'John Lewis list' which had enabled them to claim £10,000 kitchens and £200 blenders at tax payers' expense. Beckenham MP Jacqui Lait, who has a constituency home in Beckenham, recently came under fire after it was revealed she has claimed more that £100,000 for it. She also maintains her £1.5million farmhouse in East Sussex. Mrs Lait said she would not vote because she would be helping former shadow cabinet minister David Davis with his by-election, following his resignation over the passing of the counter-terrorism bill. Asked her views on the recommendations, she said: "I haven't had time to look at them and as I won't be taking part in the vote, I don't see much point in spending a lot of time on it.

"The system needs sorting out and we will just have to wait to see what comes out of the vote."

Children's Minister Ed Balls and his wife Yvette Cooper, who is Treasury Chief Secretary, are currently under investigation to check they were within the rules for claims on their London and constituency homes.

A complaint against the couple was lodged by Conservative MP Malcolm Moss.

Mrs Lait said she would not comment on Mr Balls and Mrs Cooper, but added: "I don't have any opinion on them as long as whatever they are doing is within the rules."

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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