Comet country MPs held to account over expenses claims

AT least four out of the five MPs in Comet country have been asked to repay money or provide more information about potentially excessive expenses claims. Sir Thomas Legg, who is auditing MPs expenses, has written to Mid Beds MP Nadine Dorries, Stevenage

AT least four out of the five MPs in Comet country have been asked to repay money or provide more information about potentially excessive expenses claims.

Sir Thomas Legg, who is auditing MPs' expenses, has written to Mid Beds MP Nadine Dorries, Stevenage MP Barbara Follett, North East Herts MP Oliver Heald, and North East Beds MP Alistair Burt.

The Comet has been unable to make contact with Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, to establish if he too has received a letter.

Mrs Follett, who has already repaid �32,976 for security patrols around her London home and for the repair and cleaning of a child's rug, has confirmed she has received a letter from Sir Legg, querying "some" of her Additional Costs Allowance claims. She said: "I will be looking into these in detail over the next few days and hope to be able to reply to him soon."


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Ms Dorries has been asked to explain why she was paid twice for a �241 phone bill in 2006. "I was never paid twice and I will explain in my letter how this misunderstanding happened," she said.

Mr Heald will have to dig back through his 2004/2005 accounts to explain household items he bought for under �250 in his monthly claims. "I bought my flat in Lambeth in 2003 and must now provide a list of the items I bought to furnish the flat," he said. "I am confident I can explain all of the claims and will cooperate fully."

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Mr Burt said: "The only enquiry that Sir Thomas has raised is the suggestion that I made one extra claim for rent in 2006/7. This is not the case, and I have sent him my accounts to show this.

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