MP hits back at expenses allegation

PUBLISHED: 12:50 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:09 06 May 2010

AN MP has hit back at claims in a national newspaper that there are discrepancies in her expenses claims. The Sunday Times reported that Stevenage MP Barbara Follett claimed £76,357 of taxpayers money over four years to finance her second home in Lond

AN MP has hit back at claims in a national newspaper that there are "discrepancies" in her expenses claims.

The Sunday Times reported that Stevenage MP Barbara Follett claimed £76,357 of taxpayers' money over four years to finance her second home in London despite owning a multi-million pound property portfolio.

Mrs Follett and her novelist husband Ken are worth £14m. They have a £2m home in Old Knebworth, a £350,000 flat in London, a £1.5m holiday home in Antigua and a home in Cape Town.

The newspaper reported that there was a discrepancy between the estimated outgoing the reporter had calculated, £10,188 on council tax, gas, water and electricity bills, and the £76,357 claimed by Mrs Follett for her Soho flat.

But a spokesman for Mrs Follett told The Comet: "Over the past four years Barbara Follett has claimed, on average, £19,089 a year in additional cost allowances.

"She does not claim rent or mortgage costs on the London property as it is owned outright by her husband. There are, despite newspaper claims, no 'discrepancies' in Barbara Follett's claims, just in the Sunday Times' information."

He said Mrs Follett had the right to claim living expenses for the time she spends overnight in London while working at the House of Commons.

He said she was allowed to claim for insurance, security, gas, electricity, water rates, council tax, cleaning, food and other sundry items.

"Every claim is scrutinised by the House of Commons Fees Office and every MP has to submit original receipts with each claim," he said.

He went on: "Barbara Follett's entire parliamentary income - her salary and all of her allowances - goes on the staffing and running of her constituency and parliamentary offices.

"In other words, on representing the people of Stevenage and helping them with their problems. Mrs Follett takes nothing for herself. Consequent-ly, regardless of the allowances given to her by Parliament, all the costs of running her London house are, in fact, borne by her husband Ken.


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