Denis MacShane ordered to pay back £1,300 expenses. VOTE

ROTHERHAM MP Denis MacShane has been asked to repay £1,300 by the Parliamentary expenses watchdog. The move follows the audit and review of MPs’ accommodation allowances in the wake of public outcry over expenses.Sir Thomas Legg, the man i

ROTHERHAM MP Denis MacShane has been asked to repay £1,300 by the Parliamentary expenses watchdog.

 

The move follows the audit and review of MPs’ accommodation allowances in the wake of public outcry over expenses.

Sir Thomas Legg, the man in charge of auditing MPs’ expenses, wrote to Dr MacShane asking him to pay back the money for cleaning costs over five years.

Dr MacShane said this week that he would repay the amount and agreed that all MPs should comply with new rules.

The MP said: “Sir Thomas Legg has asked me to repay £1,300 in respect of cleaning costs over five years, which means he has concluded that I have been overpaid by £5 a week for cleaning.

“I will of course meet his request as I believe that all MPs have to accept stringent new rules even though all these claims were fully approved by the audit department of the commons finance office at the time they were made.”

Dr MacShane was in Canada on a parliamentary visit to brief Canadian parliament on his work chairing the Commons inquiry into anti-Semitism when letters were issued by Sir Thomas Legg.

Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron got a “Legg letter” but he has not been asked to repay any money.

Wentworth MP John Healey was asked for documents to check some of his claims for mortgage interest costs on his second home, which he agreed to send off.

Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley, which covers Tickhill, has welcomed the audit and review of MPs’accommodation allowances.

She said she would co-operate fully and if any reimbursement was required she would make the required payment.

Ms Flint said that the rules and administration of the allowances system by the House of Commons has been a “shambles” and that independent regulation was essential to restore public confidence.

Dr MacShane is one of a number of MPs who have been accused of trying to water down new rules on their expenses, by telling the official in charge of overhauling allowances to be “reasonable and proportionate” and to ignore dubious claims made in the past.

Members of all parties, including several former ministers, have signed a Commons motion telling Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, to ensure that any new rules are "in line with natural justice.”

The motion also suggests MPs should get a pay rise by calling on IPSA to tackle the “heart” of the problem and ensure salaries are “set independently and beyond the interference of Government or Parliament.”

The concept of “natural justice” has been invoked by a number of MPs attempting to justify expenses claims.

However, the IPSA chairman has so far refused to publicly endorse the recommendations. Sir Christopher Kelly’s recommendations, particularly the ban on MPs employing relatives, angered a number of politicians.

Dr MacShane said: “All I and other Labour MPs want is that there is a fair, transparent and acceptable system that allows MPs to have a  base in their constituency and in London and which allows MPs to see their children grow up.”