Our MP still has questions to answer

Nigel Quinton, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Hitchin & Harpenden, welcomes Peter Lilley s comment that MPs have only ourselves to blame but thinks that he still needs to explain to his constituents why he needs to claim for a second home when

Nigel Quinton, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Hitchin & Harpenden, welcomes Peter Lilley's comment that "MPs have only ourselves to blame" but thinks that he still needs to explain to his constituents why he needs to claim for a second home when he lives within easy reach of Westminster, and why he and his party have resisted change at every opportunity.

Mr Lilley escaped this week from a bill of �41,000 that Sir Thomas Legg had ruled he was due to repay, when Sir Paul Kennedy upheld his appeal.

According to Mr Quinton, both the Legg report and the appeal process missed the bigger picture.

"Legg was explicitly excluded from examining some key areas of the expenses scandal, namely whether there was really a case for owning a second home at the public's expense, and the vexed question of which home was considered the main residence. There is no suggestion that Mr Lilley flipped his home, but there are two questions I feel he should answer to his constituents:

"The first is - why should we, the taxpayers, be paying for a second home when he lives within easy commuting distance of London? Many of the people he represents in parliament make the journey from Hitchin to central London every day, why should he be any different?

"The second is - which is Mr Lilley's main residence? Does he really spend more time at his Offley home than at the London residence which has cost the taxpayer more than �150,000 since 2001?

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"Lastly, could he explain, or justify, why his total expenses claimed have increased from �80,000 in 2001/2 to �150,000 in 2007/8?

"Mr Lilley may not have been as outrageous in his behaviour as some of his peers, but he has done little or nothing to help reform the system.

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