MP suspended from Parliamentary Labour Party over expenses claim

May 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm 1 comment

morley
A former minister as “apologised unreservedly” for claiming £16,000 in MPs’ expenses for a mortgage that had already been paid in full.

Elliot Morley has been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour party, the Prime Minister announced today.

Mr Brown said he was “very angry” about what had happened and Mr Morley has also been suspended as the PM’s ‘climate envoy.’

“Where there is irregularity now it has got to be dealt with immediately,” Mr Brown said.

“Where standards have been transgressed and the evidence has been shown to be there, action has got to be taken.

“Where disciplinary action is necessary, it will and will immediately be taken.”

In a statement Mr Morley, the MP for Scunthorpe, said:

“In 1997 when I was appointed minister I was obliged under the rules at that time to class my London home as my main home. That meant I had to make my additional costs allowance claims on my constituency home.

The mortgage interest was £800 per month. This was paying over a shorter period to cut overall costs. That ended in 2006.

“In 2007, after I ceased to be a minister, I decided it was more appropriate to claim on my London home.

“I have been sharing this with Ian Cawsey MP who paid £1,000 per month covering a mortgage of £900 and council tax of £100. I paid for furnishing and other costs at my own expense.

“This was a non-commercial rent with no gain to me and less than the average rents in the area.

“When I switched the claim to London in 2007 I renegotiated the mortgage, a large part of which had been paid off through a short period and reduced my mortgage claim accordingly which has been the same from the end of 2007 to date at around £360 per month using the contribution from Ian Cawsey to reduce the mortgage and therefore my claim to the taxpayer.

“There was an overlap on what Ian Cawsey paid for two months when I switched the claim back.

“I pay a number of mortgages and premiums including an endowment policy on my constituency home. I have never claimed for this.

“When receipts were recently published I realised that there had been an over claim for this period ’06 to ’07. In fact I could have switched my claim to London in that period but simply never got round to it.

“When I realised this mistake I took steps to raise the total cost of the mortgage claim in that period of £16,800 and have since paid this back in full to the House of Commons.

“I am entitled to claim for the endowment but I don’t know whether this is now possible and I accept the fault is entirely mine.

“I accept that I have made a mistake in this case and have rectified it in full. I deeply apologise for such sloppy accounting in a very loose and shambolic allowance system but there is nobody to blame but myself and I take full responsibility for this.

“I apologise unreservedly.

“I have always given the people of Scunthorpe my total commitment and although I will be quite rightly criticised for this I will continue to do my duty to constituents and will also explain the situation in full to my local party.

“I have asked John Lyon, the Commissioner for Standards, to demonstrate that there was no intent. I will cooperate fully with his Committee.”

Mr Morley has retained the Labour whip but the BBC reports that the Chief Whip, Nick Brown, “made it clear that he faced expulsion if he failed to clear his name.”

Today David Cameron’s senior political and parliamentary aide resigned over expenses.

Andrew MacKay, MP for Bracknell in Berkshire, is married to Julie Kirkbride, the MP for Bromsgrove in Worcestershire.

It emerged that the couple in effect had two “second homes” and were claiming for both.

The Daily Telegraph has been publishing details of MPs’ expenses, including the PM and Cabinet and senior Tories and Lib Dems, for the past week.

“Last financial year, Mr MacKay claimed a total of £23,083 under the so-called Additional Costs Allowance, while Miss Kirkbride claims £22,575,” the paper reported.

“They also claimed for each other’s travel costs. Ms Kirkbride took £1,392 under the allowance to meet spouse travel, while Mr MacKay claimed £408.

“Mr MacKay voluntarily submitted his claims to Tory party officials before they were due to be disclosed by this newspaper on Friday and his resignation was announced on Thursday morning.”

He becomes the first person to lose their job over the expenses revelations.

“This was all transparent, it was all approved and frankly until it was drawn to my attention it did not occur to me that it didn’t pass the reasonableness test,” he said.

“Looking back now, it does look strange, I have clearly made an error of judgment for which I profusely apologise and I’ve done what I think is the right thing.”

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. James Easy  |  May 14, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Isn’t it unfortunate that Morley bears the Brunt of Gordon Brown’s desire to be seen to act, yet Phil Hope gets to pay back 41k unopposed?

    Reply

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