Latest Channel 4 News:
Row over Malaysian state's coins
'Four shot at abandoned mine shaft'
Rain fails to stop Moscow wildfires
Cancer blow for identical twins
Need for Afghan progress 'signs'

MPs' expenses: what they claimed

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 11 May 2009

The full list of what MPs claimed for on their expenses, as revealed to date by the Daily Telegraph.

Houses of Parliament (credit:Reuters)

- Labour claims
- Labour claims (cont.)
- Conservative claims
- Conservative claims (cont.)
- Liberal Democrat claims
- Sinn Fein claims
- Democratic Unionist Party claims
- Scottish National Party (SNP) claims
- Other MP claims

Click here for the full Daily Telegraph reports on each MP investigated.

Labour claims:

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown used his expenses to pay his brother, Andrew, £6,577 for cleaning work at his Westminster flat between 2004 and 2006.

The brothers shared the cleaner at their two flats. Under the arrangement, Andrew Brown paid the cleaner and the prime minister reimbursed his share of the cost.

There are also claims that Gordon Brown switched his official "second home" shortly before becoming prime minister, to take advantage of extra expenses.

Alistair Darling
Mr Darling "switched" the location of his second home four times in four years, allowing him to claim thousands of pounds towards the cost of his Edinburgh home and for the London flat, it was reported.

The taxpayer contributed almost £10,000 towards the cost of furnishing the chancellor's London flat, including £2,074 for furniture and £2,339 for "magnolia" carpets.

The public also footed the bill for £765 from Ikea and £768 from Marks and Spencer for a bed.

Darling says the claims were "made within Commons rules".

The Chancellor has also denied claiming second-home allowance on two homes at once. The Daily Telegraph said that in July 2007, 10 days after becoming Chancellor, he submitted a £1,004 claim for services charge on his south London flat up to December of that year. During that period he had moved into Downing Street and begun renting out the flat, the newspaper said.

But a spokesman for Mr Darling, who was the target of much reshuffle speculation over the weekend, said: "The allegation of double claiming is simply untrue. He paid the bills due for his flat until he moved out in Sept 2007 after which he made no further claims for it."

David Miliband
The foreign secretary spent £30,000 on repairs, decorations and furnishings for his home in South Shields.

At one stage his gardener even questioned whether the outlay represented value for money.

In April 2008, on the bottom of a receipt for £132.96, the gardener wrote: "Please let me know if you would like pots making up at front and back this year, given the relatively short time you'll be here and their labour-intensive nature."

A spokesman said the Miliband had broken no rules.

Jack Straw
It was reported that Mr Straw claimed the full cost of council tax back even though he received a 50 per cent discount from his local authority.

Back to index

He repaid the money last summer, shortly after a High Court ruling requiring the receipts to be published. Mr Straw also repaid money he was overpaid for his mortgage.

A spokesman for the justice secretary said: "Mr Straw takes his responsibilities in relation to claims under the Additional Costs Allowance very seriously. Any costs claimed in relation to his home in his Blackburn constituency and time spent in Blackburn have been made entirely in accordance with the rules set by the Commons authorities."

Lord Mandelson
The business secretary reacted to reports in the Daily Telegraph which disclosed he ran up bills of almost £3,000 on work to his constituency home in Hartlepool, less than a week after announcing his decision to stand down as an MP.

He renovated the terrace house in 2004 and sold it for a £136,000 profit. Lord Mandelson's spokesman insisted the expenditure was to repair the property, "not improve it".

Lord Mandelson said the report - which details a £1,500 gardening bill and £1,350 in house repairs - was presented to provoke public anger.

"The fact is that these allowances would not have been paid if they weren't within the rules," he told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme.

Shaun Woodward
Taxpayers contributed almost £100,000 to help pay the mortgage on a £1.35m flat owned by the Northern Ireland secretary.

The money went on mortgage interest payments and council tax between 2004 and 2008 for the Thameside flat - one of seven owned by Mr Woodward, it was reported.

Caroline Flint
The Europe minister put solicitors' fees and stamp duty totalling £14,553 on her parliamentary expenses after buying a central London flat, it was claimed.

Before moving in to her second home in Victoria, she also claimed the £177 a month cost of putting her furniture in storage.

Over a period of about eight months in 2005 to 2006, Ms Flint claimed for staying in hotels for an average of three nights a week.

Paul Murphy
Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy used the Additional Cost Allowance, which MPs can use to help pay for a second home, to buy the freehold on a flat close to Parliament. Like Ms Flint, he put the arrangement fees and stamp duty on his expenses.

He also claimed for decorating and furnishing costs, including £35 for a toilet roll holder, £537 for an oven, a £605 TV and a £449 sound system.

Small claims included £1.98 on light bulbs, £6 on dust bags for a vacuum cleaner and a £6 tin opener, it was reported.

Douglas Alexander
Mr Alexander's constituency home was damaged in a house fire in 2007 after he spent more than £30,000 doing it up, the Telegraph said.

The international development secretary told the fees office he was "under-insured" and claimed almost £2,000 on items lost in the fire, which he later repaid when his insurers reimbursed him.

Back to index

Geoff Hoon
The Transport Secretary was able to switch his second home in a way which allowed him to improve his family home in Derbyshire at taxpayers' expense before buying a London townhouse.

It was reported Mr Hoon did not pay capital gains tax on an estimated £300,000 profit when he sold his London home in 2006.

Mr Hoon's accountancy claims came to almost £3,000 over two years. He also put a £200 digital camera on his office expenses.

Mr Hoon charged for insurance, utilities and a TV licence on his Derbyshire property when in the same year he claimed a house in London was his second home. He admitted he had "accidentally" overclaimed and paid back £384.

Hazel Blears
The communities secretary claimed for three different properties in a single year, spending almost £5,000 of taxpayers' money on furniture in three months. She also stayed at London hotels at public expense after selling her flat.

In March 2004, Miss Blears declared her property in her Salford constituency was her second home and spent £850 on a television and video and £651 on a mattress.

In April, she switched her second home to a flat in south London, claiming £850 a month for the mortgage.

In August, she sold the flat, making a £45,000 profit, and stayed in hotels, including two nights at the fashionable Zetter, over the following two months. She did not pay capital gains tax on the property by saying it was her main residence. She has since agreed to pay the tax, but denied any wrongdoing.

In December, she purchased another London flat for £300,000, claiming a monthly mortgage of £1,000 and a grocery bill of £400.

Margaret Beckett
Mrs Beckett found herself in trouble with the Fees Office after attempting to claim £600 for hanging baskets and pot plants.

Of the work to her garden, an official informed her in a letter that expenses had to be "wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred to enable you to stay overnight away from your main home".

Despite having no mortgage or rent to pay on her constituency home in Derby, she claimed second home allowances of £72,537 from 2004 to 2008.

As environment secretary and foreign secretary, Mrs Beckett was living at the grace and favour Admiralty House in Whitehall, which enabled her to rent out her London flat.

Back to index

Andy Burnham
It was reported that the culture secretary was grappling with the fees office for eight months over an expenses claim for £16,500 to buy and renovate a new London flat. Officials finally agreed to pay the cash after rejecting the claim three times.

This followed a series of letters from Mr Burnham pleading for his expenses to be paid urgently. In one note, he even said he "might be in line for a divorce" if the money did not materialise within days.

Vera Baird QC
Mrs Baird, who as solicitor general is one of the government's top legal advisers, fell foul of expenses rules after trying to claim for Christmas decorations.

Kevin Brennan
The junior minister was said to have had a £450 widescreen television delivered to his family home in Wales and then claimed it on his allowance for his second home in London.

Kitty Ussher
The Department for Work and Pensions minister drew up a list of renovations she hoped to make to her London house and asked Commons officials to "pay as much as you are able!"

Iain Wright and Tom Watson
Mr Wright, a junior housing minister, asked if he could buy furniture before he had even bought the property he shares with Mr Watson.

He was told it would be better to wait until after the general election in case he lost his seat.

He told the Commons authorities: "It seems stupid to carry it over into next year when a large chunk of my (allowance) would go unused."

Barbara Follett
The tourism minister, who is married to the millionaire author and Labour donor Ken Follett, claimed more than £25,000 for security patrols outside her central London home.

She also put a £937 annual insurance premium for fine art on expenses and submitted a £384 bill for having eights chimneys swept at the Soho property, it was reported.

The total cost of security patrols, CCTV and a burglar alarm between 2004 and 2008 came to £25,411.64.

Asked to justify the expenditure, the parliamentary fees office was told it was necessary because Mrs Follett had been mugged twice outside her home, followed by a stalker and subjected to "terrorist threats" because of her work for the anti-apartheid movement.

Phil Woolas
The immigration minister threatened legal action over "disgusting" suggestions that he used parliamentary allowances to buy clothes for his wife, nappies and comics.

The expenses rules state that MPs cannot claim personal items such as clothing and toiletries.

The Telegraph reported Mr Woolas claimed the maximum amount for food - £4,800 - on his parliamentary allowance from 2005 to 2008.

Ben Bradshaw
The health minister apparently switched the designation of his second home from his constituency property to one he shares with his partner in west London.

While the couple initially split the mortgage costs, Exeter MP Mr Bradshaw now claims the entire interest bill on the property - despite owning only half.

Between April 2004 and October 2006, he claimed an average £683 a month in mortgage payments on his Exeter home.

After changing his second home to his London address, Mr Bradshaw spent an average £1,080 a month on his mortgage between October 2006 and March 2007.

This sum increased to an average £1,600 a month between April and December 2007.

Phil Hope
The care services minister spent more than £37,000 in four years on refurbishing and furnishing a modest two-bedroom flat in south London.

Items charged to expenses included a new kitchen, seven doors, wooden flooring, bedroom furniture, chairs and tables, two bookcases and a television, it was reported.

The Corby and East Northants MP also claimed for a £120 barbecue and £61 for gardening materials, despite rules stating that MPs can only claim for garden maintenance.

He has announced he will hand back £41,709, saying: "The anger of my constituents and the damage done to perceptions of my integrity concerning the money I have received to make my London accommodation habitable has been a massive blow to me that I cannot allow to continue."

Keith Vaz
The home affairs select committee chairman claimed more than £75,000 for a flat in central London, even though his family home was just 12 miles away, it was revealed.

He also changed his designated second home from the Westminster flat to a property he owns in his Leicestershire constituency and back again between 2007 and 2008.

Documents revealed Mr Vaz's monthly expenditure on the flat included mortgage interest payments of up to £1,750, £200 on groceries and £50 on a cleaner.

After switching second homes, he rented out his London flat - having just charged the taxpayer for a £2,073 service charge and £1,022 council tax bill.

With no mortgage to claim on the constituency property, Mr Vaz spent around £16,000 on furnishings, including more than £480 on 22 John Lewis cushions, £2,614 for a pair of leather armchairs and footstool, £1,000 for a table and leather chairs and £750 for new carpets.

Margaret Moran
The Labour MP for Luton switched her second home to the house she shares with her partner, 100 miles from her constituency - just days before spending £22,500 on treating dry rot at the seafront property.

She has agreed to repay the money, but insists she acted within the rules.

Ms Moran is also facing questions over whether she helped her partner's company to win a £10,000 contract to put up festive lights in a Luton park, the paper said.

Back to index

Barry Gardiner
The MP for Brent North made a profit of almost £200,000 from a flat mortgaged and renovated with the help of taxpayers' cash, it was alleged.

Stephen Byers
The former trade secretary used the expenses system to claim more than £125,000 for the London flat owned by his partner, the paper said.

Over the past five years, Mr Byers spent more than £27,000 on redecoration, maintenance and appliances at the flat in Camden, north London.

The claims included extensive renovations to the outside of the entire building, which consists of four flats.

Documents showed Mr Byers put the entire £12,000 bill for the work - including his partner's share - on expenses.

John Reid
According to leaked receipts, the former home secretary appears to enjoy his creature comforts when in his Scottish constituency.

Mr Reid's claims included a £199 pouffe, a £370 armchair, a £899 sofa and a £29.99 a "black glitter toilet seat".

John Prescott
The taxpayer paid for the former deputy prime minister to fit the front of his home in Hull with mock Tudor boards and for his toilet seat to be repaired twice, it was reported.

The boards cost £312, while in December 2004 a plumber charged £210.79 for pipework, taps and to "refix WC seat".

In September 2006, he put a £112.52 repair bill on expenses, which included "refit WC seat".

Tony Blair
The former prime minister was able to use his parliamentary expenses to remortgage his constituency home for £296,000 - nearly 10 times what he paid for it - just months before buying a west London house for £3.65 million.

The claims, some of which were revealed last year under a Freedom of Information request, showed interest repayments on his constituency home amounted to almost a third of the new mortgage - enough to cover the deposit on the new house.

The London town house was one of five properties owned by Mr Blair - reportedly worth a total of £10 million, the newspaper reported.

Bob Marshall-Andrews
The left wing Labour MP has claimed £118,000 for expenses at his second home, including stereo equipment, redecoration and a pair of Kenyan carpets, The Daily Telegraph said.

In 2006 he claimed £750 on a "multi-room audio system" and £830 on a DVD recorder and other electrical goods.

He has also claimed almost £1,300 for an intercom, brass name plaque and other door adornments.

Mr Marshall-Andrews said the claims for his TV and DVD recorder were "met" from second home allowances "in error". They were mainly for office use and should have been claimed accordingly, he told the paper.

He added that all other claims were "within the spirit and letter of the law".

Mark Lazarowicz:
Labour backbencher Mark Lazarowicz has said he will to repay £2,675 of his expenses claims for legal and professional fees because they were "much higher than many of the public would be prepared to accept". The sum is half of what he claimed for the fees in connection with his London flat.

The Edinburgh North and Leith MP said the Fees Office had given him written prior approval for the claims which were "entirely within the existing Parliamentary rules".

Fabian Hamilton:
The Labour MP for Leeds North East declared his mother's home in London as his main residence, allowing him to claim thousands of pounds to improve his family home in Leeds, the Telegraph said.

He also overcharged £2,850 in 2004 by claiming for the full cost of his mortgage payments when he was entitled only to reimbursement of the interest, it added.

When the claim was challenged by parliamentary authorities, Mr Hamilton offset some £1,950 of the overpayment by submitting receipts for furniture, including a TV, which he had bought for the house, while agreeing that £900 could be docked from his next month's claim to cover the rest.

He defended the claim by saying he spent the majority of his time with his mother before her death, paying a "substantial" sum for the upkeep of the house.

Austin Mitchell:
The veteran Labour backbencher is said to have submitted claims for food items including Ginger Crinkle biscuits worth 67p, Branston pickle worth 68p and a bottle of malt whisky costing £22.99. He also had a £1,296 claim for bespoke shutters turned down.

Harry Cohen:
The Labour MP claimed thousands of pounds for redecorating his second home before selling it and charging taxpayers £12,000 in stamp duty and fees on a new property, the Telegraph said.

Among other items he reportedly claimed were £1,222 for new blinds, £5,232 for furniture. The Leyton and Wanstead MP also claimed £4.25 for baby wipes and £8.75 for men's shaving oil. Toiletries are not an allowable expense.

Mr Cohen said he was willing to pay back the cost of the toiletries.

Elliot Morley:
Former Agriculture minister Mr Morley claimed £16,000 for interest on a mortgage he had already paid off.

The MP for Scunthorpe claimed the sum for more than 18 months after the loan had been repaid. He said that he had repaid some of the money, but not how much. The former minister added: "I have a made a mistake. I apologise for that and take full responsibility."

Shahid Malik:
Justice Minister Shahid Malik claimed for tens of thousands of pounds on his second home in London while renting his constituency home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, for less than £100 a week, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Malik's claims for his second home in Peckham, south London, amounted to £66,827 over three years, the highest figure for any MP, the paper said.

They were said to include £2,600 for a home cinema system - which was cut in half by the Commons Fees Office - £730 for a "massage chair", and £65 for a court summons for the non-payment of council tax.

The Telegraph said that his landlord, local businessman Tahir Zaman, confirmed that he was paying well below the market rent for his Dewsbury address. Mr Malik insisted he had acted within the rules.

Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper:
The husband-and-wife Cabinet ministers "flipped" the designation of their second home to three different properties within the space of two years, the Telegraph said.

Ms Cooper, who is Chief Secretary to the Treasury, changed her second home designation three times between 2005 and 2007, from a property in Castleford, West Yorkshire, to others in London.

When she and Children's Secretary Mr Balls moved to a £655,000 property in north London in 2007, they claimed for £2,000 of removal costs, the disclosures added.

At one point the couple also reportedly had their expenses docked after each submitted two monthly claims for mortgage interest of nearly £1,300.

Ann and Alan Keen:
The Labour MPs, who represent neighbouring constituencies in west London, have claimed almost £40,000 a year on a central London flat less than 10 miles away from their family home, it was disclosed.

It is also alleged the couple are claiming for interest on mortgages worth £520,000, even though the apartment cost only £500,000.

And in some months they also both tried to claim back the full amount of council tax on the property, the Telegraph said.

James Purnell:
The work and pensions secretary avoided paying capital gains tax on the sale of his London flat. He informed the parliamentary authorities that Manchester was his main residence, but told the tax authorities that London was his primary residence.

He also claimed £395 for an accountant's bill that included "tax advice provided in October 2004 regarding sale of flat" on parliamentary expenses which are intended to cover the cost of running an office.

Back to index

Hilary Armstrong:
The former government chief whip claimed £3,100 towards the cost of repointing the gables and walls on her constituency home, it is alleged.

David Chaytor:
The Labour MP for Bury North claimed almost £13,000 of taxpayers' money for a non-existent mortgage.

He is to pay back the sum after continuing to submit £1,175 monthly bills for months after the loan was paid off.

"In respect of mortgage interest payments, there has been an unforgivable error in my accounting procedures for which I apologise unreservedly," Mr Chaytor told the Telegraph in a statement.

Sir Gerald Kaufman:
The Labour former minister, who represents Manchester Gorton, is said to have charged £1,851 for an antique rug imported from New York.

He was also said to have submitted a claim for a £8,865 television and was paid £15,329 of a £28,834 bill for improvements to a London flat after telling Commons authorities he was "living in a slum".

- Labour claims (cont.)
- Back to index

Send this article by email

More on this story

Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Watch the Latest Channel 4 News

Watch Channel 4 News when you want

Latest Domestic politics news

More News blogs

View RSS feed

Cartoon coalition


How Channel 4 News viewers picture the coalition in cartoon form

Token candidate?

Labour leadership candidate Diane Abbott (credit:Getty Images)

Diane Abbott: I am the genuine move-on candidate for Labour

'Mr Ordinary'

Andy Burnham, Getty images

Andy Burnham targets Labour's 'ordinary' person.

Iraq inquiry: day by day

Tony Blair mask burnt during protest outside the Iraq inquiry. (Credit: Getty)

Keep track of Sir John Chilcot's Iraq war findings day by day.

The Freedom Files

Freedom Files

Revealed: the stories they didn't want to tell.

Making a FoI request?

Channel 4 News tells you how to unearth information.

Channel 4 © 2010. Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites.