Tory MP’s expenses in the spotlight as leader imposes transparency

PUBLISHED: 16:33 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 10:43 12 August 2010

A LONDON MP claims more than £1,500 a month in expenses while living in a second home 70 miles from her constituency. Beckenham MP Jacqui

A LONDON MP claims more than £1,500 a month in expenses while living in a second home 70 miles from her constituency.

Beckenham MP Jacqui Lait claimed £3,154 on travel and second home expenses in April and May, and has claimed £100,000 from taxpayers since 2001.

The Conservative MP's spending patterns emerged last Wednesday when the party released snapshot details of their expenses over the last three months.

The move comes in wake of the furore caused by Derek Conway, Tory Old Bexley and Sidcup MP, who paid his university student son almost £40,000 for unrecorded work over three years.

Ms Lait lives in East Sussex with her husband, Peter Jones, leader of East Sussex County Council, but claims money to pay for a flat in Beckenham.

While many London MPs have homes both in central London and their constituency, Ms Lait claimed £1,455 for travel in two months, compared to most London MPs who claimed about £400.

Only the first two months of Ms Lait's travel and second home expenses were listed, unlike other MPs who listed three months of expenses.

Despite repeated requests, the Beckenham MP refused to take any Times calls about her spending of public money.

A spokesman for the The Conservative Party was unavailable for comment.

Bob Neill, MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, claimed £16,749 in three months, more than any other Conservative MP in the area.

But a quarter of the total was spent on delivering constituency information rather than personal expenses.

The MP claimed £5,065 for his second home and £615 for travel.

Mr Neill failed to respond repeated telephone calls about his expenses.

Orpington MP John Horam was the area's cheapest politician, claiming £7,264 despite having a second home in central London.

He said: "I couldn't do my job satisfactorily without two homes."

Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett has no second home and claimed £8,289, including £592 on travel, which he said was down to commuting and community visits.

Derek Conway, Old Bexley and Sidcup MP, did not have his expenses listed as he was booted from the Conservative Party in January.

However, East London MP James Brokenshire, due to stand for Mr Conway's seat at the next election, asked for £8,521, claiming just £105 travel and no home expenses.

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