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MPs dodge questions but Times reveals more

PUBLISHED: 17:25 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:30 12 August 2010

MEMBERS of Parliament in Bromley have dodged releasing their expenses receipts in full for a second week. Bob Neill, MP for Bromley and Chislehurst,

MEMBERS of Parliament in Bromley have dodged releasing their expenses receipts in full for a second week.

Bob Neill, MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, told the Times he would only release his two years of expense details - worth £254,949 - through Conservative HQ.

Orpington MP John Horam hid behind Parliament's advice to withhold receipts to avoid exposing sensitive information, despite other MPs simply covering bank details with card.

And Beckenham MP Jacqui Lait, whose second home and travel allowances have cost the taxpayer over £101,285 in four years, has continued to IGNORE all calls from the Times.

Mr Neill said: "We're going to submit their claims to David Cameron's independent body - all the Tories are doing this. Then they will be published altogether. We think it's the best way."

Since his election in 2007, Mr Neill has claimed £48,524 for his second home and travel expenses, on top of more than £200,000 for office and staff costs.

The shadow Local Government Minister added: "The whole thing has clearly been a failure of the system from the start to finish. Everyone in Parliament has to take responsibility for it that and I think this sort of thing should be dealt with by wholly independent bodies."

Conservative MP Mr Horam, who lives in central London, defended his right to have taxpayers pay for a second home in Crofton, Orpington. The most frugal of the Bromley MPs said: "Even though the hours for MPs are better than they were, they are still very long hours. I work both in Westminster and in my constituency and often I will work in either until late.

"It's quite apparent that some people have not been reasonable in their claims and I support making the process more transparent. I will release my expenses on my website as soon as it can be done."

However some expenses may never have a paper-trail to follow, since MPs have not been required to provide receipts for limited one-off purchases and travel.

In 2005 Ms Lait claimed £12,485 for travel expenses. For 40p a mile, she needed to drive 600 miles a week to claim that amount for petrol.

In the last four years Ms Lait has reduced her travel expenses to £5,024 a year, yet she still claims more than double her colleague, Mr Horam.

Ms Lait has also been reducing her housing expenses from more than £21,000 in 2005 to £15,478 last year, compared to Mr Neill who claimed a second home allowance for £19,108.

Yet in the last four years Ms Lait has still spent some £69,959 to have a second home in Beckenham, twice that of Mr Horam who claimed £33,849 in the same period.

A non-itemised list of MPs expenses is expected to be released by Parliament in July.

Jacqui Lait

TRAVEL

2004/05£12,485

2005/06£6,847

2006/07£6,970

2007/08£5,024

LIVING AWAY FROM HOME

£17,958

£21,222

£15,301

£15,478

Bob Neill

TRAVEL

2006/07 £2,768

2007/08£4,538

LIVING AWAY FROM HOME

£22,110

£19,108

John Horam

TRAVEL

2004/05£3,236

2005/06£1,841

2006/07£2,054

2007/08£1,910

LIVING AWAY FROM HOME

£6,673

£7,639

£8,085

£11,452

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