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Tories round on MP Lait over expenses

PUBLISHED: 17:27 22 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:52 12 August 2010

TORY party members have asked David Cameron to de-select an MP at the next general election claiming she has gone too far

TORY party members have asked David Cameron to de-select an MP at the next general election claiming she has gone "too far" pocketing thousands in mileage expenses.

Conservatives in Beckenham have written to their party leader asking him to select another candidate after it was revealed that MP Jacqui Lait claimed £6,923 in petrol expenses last year.

Now residents are calling for "new blood" in the safe Tory seat, which Ms Lait retained in 2005 with an 8,401-vote majority, with Labour coming second.

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

Former Chairman of the Beckenham Conservatives Rod Reed, 49 of Foxgrove Avenue, Beckenham, said: "People have written to David Cameron asking for her to be de-selected. There is widespread concern about MPs' expenses but in particular to the area is the fact that so much has been claimed by her on mileage from Beckenham to Rye.

"Add to that the fact she has claimed money for House of Fraser vouchers to furnish her home. This has gone too far and this is where a lot of the anger is coming from.

"People feel there is a lack of local campaigning from their MP and these latest expense claims are the last straw.

"How can you claim nearly £7,000 in expenses driving between Beckenham and Rye? MPs have long holidays and so she wouldn't be making these trips then. You can buy a car for £7,000. It is morally corrupt if nothing else. It is obscene."

The father-of-two, who stood as an independent parliamentary candidate against Ms Lait in 2005, winning 836 votes, said local Tory members still pass on information to him.

He said: "This feeling is quite widespread. Members of both the association and executive in Beckenham feel enough is enough. She has had a gun run.

"People feel we need new blood and a new moral compass."

On April 1 all London MPs were entitled to an extra £6,163 inflating their wage to £64,766.

But the Prime Minister has warned the capital's MPs that they may no longer be able to claim second homes on expenses.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for a vote as early as next week on plans for a major reform of MPs' expenses.

At the time of going to press, Ms Lait was unavailable for comment.

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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