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The MP, the mattress and the £1,000 bill

PUBLISHED: 10:44 17 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:25 25 August 2010

STANDING DOWN: Conway.

STANDING DOWN: Conway.

AN MP charged taxpayers more than £1,100 to furnish his Westminster flat in the year after he was sacked from the Conservative party and ordered to pay back parliamentary allowances.

AN MP charged taxpayers more than £1,100 to furnish his Westminster flat in the year after he was sacked from the Conservative party and ordered to pay back parliamentary allowances.

Old Bexley and Sidcup MP Derek Conway, who has vowed to stand down at the next general election, gave up his Sidcup home in late 2007 but has continued to take advantage of the second home allowance to furnish his luxury central London home.

He claimed £1,075 for a mohair mattress, £89 for a brass bath rack and £254 for two bath rails this year to furnish his Westminster flat.

In January 2008, he was reprimanded and suspended from the Conservatives for overpaying his sons, Henry and Frederick, each at least £10,000 for work there was little or no evidence of.

Mr Conway refused to tell the Times where his new designated second home is and that it was "none of your business" how many homes he owned.

On April 1 this year taxpayers footed his bill for a John Lewis Premier 1 Kingsize mattress which contains wool, Egyptian cotton, mohair and horse hair.

In the same month he exchanged his bath taps, basin, bath overflow fitting and basin waste fittings at a cost of £250.

These new revelations come from the publication of most recent expenses on the parliament website last Thursday.

These included the second home allowance (Additional Cost Allowance) of all MPs from last year (08-09) and the first quarter of this year (09-10), when it was changed to the Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure (PAAE).

A bathroom overhaul this year saw him make a trip to Sloane Square to buy fixture and fittings from Peter Jones.

Publicly-funded purchases included two Kevin McCloud tumbler and holders at £68 each, two towel rails totalling £254, two chrome £38 towel rings and two chrome toilet roll holders totalling £76 and two chrome light pulls at £24 each.

He also spent £89 for a brass bath rack, two £48.50 toilet seats, two £32 toilet roll holders as well as £19.50 electric scales, claimed back on expenses.

In September 2008, Mr Conway charged the taxpayer £1,450 to change their flooring and supply new carpet.

A plumber's invoice for £59 for the same month reads: "Removed electric shower and capped off supplies. Greased toilet handle in en-suite bathroom and replaced missing cold tap top with silicon."

The month after, in October 2008, there was a claim for £1,720 to a fix curtain pelmet and install a new TV bracket in the lounge. And in the shower room they removed wall tiles, repaired shower wall, new wall tiles and waterproofed the shower edges.

Mr Conway refused to comment on the items claimed and when asked how many homes he owned he replied: "How many homes I have is none of your business."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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