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Second homes could be ruled out for MPs

PUBLISHED: 17:50 01 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:30 12 August 2010

Jacqui Lait

Jacqui Lait

THE Prime Minister has warned the capital's MPs that they may no longer be able to claim for a second home on expenses. Three Bromley MPs may have to give up their second pads paid for by taxpayers money despite them living and working in the capital.

John Horam

THE Prime Minister has warned the capital's MPs that they may no longer be able to claim for a second home on expenses.

Three Bromley MPs may have to give up their second pads paid for by taxpayers' money despite them living and working in the capital.

MP for Bromley and Chislehurst Bob Neil has two flats 39 miles apart - one in Chislehurst and one in Southend, where he lives with his partner.

He said: "The second home allowance allows me to live in the constituency, which helps me to represent the people of Bromley and Chislehurst better."

Taxpayers also pay for Beckenham MP Jacqui Lait to have a constituency flat, while she lives more than 70 miles away in Rye in East Sussex, where her husband Peter Jones is leader of East Sussex County Council.

Ms Lait refused to comment on the issue but has previously told the Times "this is none of your business" and "do you want my marriage to fail?"

On Monday night Gordon Brown suggested to the Independent Committee on Standards in Pubic Life, which is looking into MPs pay, to swap the second home allowance for a "simpler overnight allowance".

This would also mean that Orpington MP John Horam would not be able to have a second home paid for by the public purse.

Mr Horam also refused to comment on the issue.

The Prime Minister also asked the committee to speed up their inquiry which was due to begin in autumn.

This comes after claims that details of all MPs expenses receipts were being offered for sale for up to £30,000.

And yesterday all London MPs were entitled to an extra £6,163 inflating their wage to £64,766.

But some MPs do not think this is enough.

MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup Derek Conway said: "For many MPs, like me, their income reduced when they became an MP."

Sarcastically he said: "£60,000 is a phenomenal, huge and reasonable salary to live on in London, especially central London.

"I don't think the public or the press will be happy until MPs get paid nothing and we are just ruled by rich men again like we were 200 years ago."

The father-of-three refused to say if he still owned a second home in Sidcup along with his family apartment in Westminster.

He said: "I fulfil the rules of the House on that issue.

"You will have to wait until July to find out.

"I think we will have to wait and see until the report is published.

"I am all in favour of our leaders making these statements while they will leave office with zillions."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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