Sunday, 31 May 2009

What's going on in West Indies cricket?


Jamaica Gleaner Online

What's going on in West Indies cricket?

Published: Sunday | May 31, 2009



Tony Becca, Contributor

The ICC World Twenty20 cricket tournament involving 12 teams begins on Friday at Lord's with England taking on the Netherlands. The following day, it will be the West Indies versus Australia at Kennington Oval, and after the Windies poor performance in the two-match Test series and in the three-match one-day series, although the man above is not a West Indian but the God of all, West Indians, right around the world, will be on their knees and praying for divine intervention.

Cold or no cold, in losing the first Test by 10 wickets inside three days and the second by an innings and 83 runs after rain had robbed the contest, or whatever it was, of an entire day, and after rain had washed out the first one, in losing the second one-day by six wickets with 14 overs to spare after dismissing the West Indies in 38.3 overs and the third by 58 runs, the West Indies were embarrassing, and there can be no doubt about that.

To put it bluntly, the West Indies, many of whom looked out of place, were simply outgunned not only in the art of captaincy, but also with the bat, with the ball and in the field.

For the umpteenth time, the question is this: is it the fault of the players, is it the fault of the selectors, or is it the fault of the board - the body which selects the selectors?

As weak, technically and mentally, as some of the players are, and especially so when confronted with the conditions in England, it seems to me that the fault, much of it, lies with the selectors, and therefore with the board.

Players underdeveloped

As has been evident for some time now, and as was evident during the recent Test and one-day series, many of the players are underdeveloped and under-prepared when selected, and that must be the reason why there are so many discarded West Indies players around - players who were selected, at the Test level and the one-day level, at a tender age after a good, promising performance or two in regional cricket, players who, as was expected, found the going rough at the higher level, failed, as expected, were dropped, and were never, most of them and regardless of what they did, recalled again.

Lionel Baker, for example, may one day be a real contender for a place in the West Indies team, he may, one day, become a star, and so too, others like Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard.

Right now, however, with one looking nothing more than military medium while bowling straight and defensively outside the off stump, with one leaning over and playing predominantly across the line, and with one, regardless of the situation, hitting wildly consistently and losing his wicket cheaply, none of the three looks the part.

And neither does Runako Morton as a batsman. He simply cannot play straight and is a sitting duck once the bowler swings or spins the ball.

For too long, the West Indies selectors have been selecting players who do not understand, or do not appreciate the basics of the game, and that may be why the batsmen, many of them, for example, do not know how to protect their wicket and why the West Indies continue, so often, to lose a bunch of wickets for a handful of runs in a few overs.

It is embarrassing to see West Indies batsmen, on the front foot or on the back foot, steering the ball into the hands of slips instead of getting behind the ball and stroking it in front of them with the face of the bat.

It is also embarrassing, even more so and especially so when there is no need to hurry, or when the team is facing defeat, to see a West Indies batsman, or even a tail-ender, running down the pitch carelessly and falling by the run-out route.

On top of that, and apart from that, the selectors do not seem to understand that cricket is a team game, that it takes disciplined people to come together and to play the game well, and that they should select not only people who they believe are blessed with talent - even though they have not shown it, but also and more so, disciplined people.

Yesterday is history

Disciplined people are people who work hard at developing their game, they are people who want to perform for themselves, for their family, and for their team, they are people who can work together for the benefit of the team, and they are people who believe that yesterday is history - that they are only as good as their last performance.

It is either that the selectors do not know that, or it is that the selectors do not care who represent the West Indies and by doing so have let down the people of the West Indies, on and off the field.

If it mattered to the selectors, or to the board, who represented the West Indies, they would keep notes, or records, and if they did, they would not have selected some of the players they have selected in recent times.

The selectors, obviously, do not keep a check on the players before recalling them, they probably just decide to go back for them simply because of the failure of others, and that must be the reason for some of them coming back without performing and terribly overweight.

Apart from selecting the obviously talented but far from fully developed Xavier Marshall, as a batsman, and especially so at this stage of his career, for a hit-or-miss Twenty20 tournament, the selectors, had they kept a few notes or done a little homework, would certainly not have selected one or two players of the other players who were and are in England.

As a batsman, Marshall, who scored zero in his last Test innings, has a Test average of 20.25; as a batsman, Marshall, who scored two and zero in his last two one-day matches, has a one-day average of 17.85; as a batsman, Marshall, who scored 28 and 10 in his last two Twenty20 matches, has a Twenty20 average of 24.66; as a batsman, Marshall did not get into any of the West Indies one-day and Twenty20 teams a few weeks ago; as a batsman, Marshall, after averaging 23.88, was dropped from the Jamaica team last time out; and as a batsman, in four matches and six innings, Marshall is averaging 15.00 in the local Senior Cup, not in the Super League, following scores of 0, 5 and 0, 57, one and 12 not out.

Apart from the presence of the overweight players, such as Ryan Hinds and Ravi Rampaul, West Indies teams of recent vintage have included players who, by their behaviour in regional competitions and on West Indies tours, have embarrassed themselves, their family, their respective territory, and West Indies cricket.

Numbered among them are players whose 'sins' include, among other things, refusal to represent his territory in a regional final while playing elsewhere, leaving a tour after faking his grandmother's death, and fighting with a teammate during last year's regional competition.

There were many players in the past who missed the boat because of their general conduct, but based on what is happening in West Indies cricket today, Roy Gilchrist, were he alive, and Winston Benjamin, two players who were sent home from West Indies tours, one in 1958-59 and one in 1995, must be cursing their luck.

Obviously, Gilchrist and Benjamin played at the wrong time.

Such is the nature of limited overs cricket, such is the unpredictability of Twenty20 cricket that the West Indies, like any of the other seven teams ranked above them, could win the ICC World Twenty20 tournament, and their fans are praying that they will do so.

Hopefully, however, that will not, if they do win it, leave the selectors, and the board, patting themselves on their backs, and shouting, once again, that they have turned the corner.

Hopefully, the West Indies Board will understand that, win or lose, for the West Indies to recover the glory that once was theirs, it, the board, will have to change their stance.

The board will have to start developing players in the region and grooming them, it will have to start developing captains, it will have to find selectors that are prepared to select the best and wait for success, it will have to find selectors who are not prepared to simply roll the dice and pray, and despite the changing of the times, in spite of the importance of money, it will have to come up with selectors whose main interest is the success of West Indies cricket and who understands what it takes to be successful at the top.

The board, the West Indies Board, must find selectors who are willing to protect West Indies cricket, on and off the field, by selecting those who, by their actions, on and off the field, are willing and prepared to represent the people - to fight for the people, to be true ambassadors of the people.

Shamelessness

Remember Ricky Skerritt - the manager of the West Indies team for four years?

When the West Indies were destroyed for 47 at Sabina Park in 2004 and four West Indies cricketers went to the Red Stripe Mound immediately afterwards, Skerritt said, "I am disgusted at the thoughtlessness and shamelessness displayed by those players following such a horrific performance.

A few months later, in tendering his resignation as the manager, Skerritt wrote, "I regret that despite my best efforts, I have been unable to instil in the entire team the fullest understanding of their obligations, on and off the field, to the people of the West Indies."

Copyright Jamaica-Gleaner.com

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Local Event For Young People: BBC BLAST WILL BE AT ALFORD HOUSE FRIDAY 5 JUNE


Tim Saunders


Alford House
Aveline Street
London SE11 5DQ


Tel: +44 (0) 20 7735 1519
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7820 8722

Co Ltd by Guarantee Reg No. 6521183
Reg Charity 1123902 founded in 1884

Friday, 29 May 2009

Museum of the RPSGB: Lambeth Pharmacy Walk

Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain: Gorgeous Glassware



MPs' expenses: Former minister Andrew Smith spent £35,000 on home makeover


MPs' expenses: Former minister Andrew Smith spent £35,000 on home makeover

A former Cabinet minister spent more than £30,000 of taxpayers’ money giving his house a makeover.

Cash secrets of MP's and their families
Val Smith and Oxford East MP Andrew Smith with Gordon Brown

Andrew Smith, Labour MP for Oxford East, used the additional costs allowance (ACA) to claim for a new kitchen and bathroom as well as new windows, flooring, doors and hallway at his designated second home in Kennington, south London.

Although the work could only be carried out at the London home under Commons rules, receipts submitted to the fees office show that many of the purchases were made in Oxford, with the work carried out by Oxford-based builders. The MP claimed a total of £34,181.29 on repairs and renovations to the modest mid-terrace property between 2004, the year he resigned as work and pensions secretary, and 2008.

One claim, in February 2006, was for £2,364.91 and included the cost of a new dishwasher, oven, fridge, microwave, gas hob, and even a 50p carrier bag from Ikea.

Mr Smith bought the house in 1998 with his wife, Valerie, whom he employs with taxpayers’ money as his office manager and caseworker on a part-time basis.

He submitted a number of claims for work he said was done at his London home, although his constituency home was given as the delivery or invoice address.

In November 2004 Mr Smith claimed £1,533.38 for “materials for bathroom” under the ACA. Yet the delivery address on the invoice — for items including a lavatory and a washbasin — was his address in Oxford. Several other products claimed were bought from shops in Oxford.

In December 2004 he claimed £5,287 (of which £3,500 was paid by the fees office) for “modernisation to bathroom”. However, he used a company that is based in Oxford and the invoice was addressed to his home in the city.

He also claimed £100.32 for some replacement tiles, which were bought from Topps Tiles in Oxford, and £802.34 for curtains bought at a Debenhams in Oxford.

In June 2007 Mr Smith claimed £128.08 for “adjusting lock after key failed”. Yet the invoice from the locksmith states that the work at the London address consisted of “gaining entry” to the residence after a “lock out”.

Yesterday, Mr Smith said: “I returned to the property at midnight from my office at the Commons. I had my keys. One key would not turn the lock. The locksmith filed a bit off one of the keys and then it worked.”

On Dec 14, 2005, the fees office wrote to Mr Smith asking him to pay back £981.73 as he had been claiming life assurance, which is not allowed under Green Book rules. Mr Smith said the claim was a “genuine mistake”.

“The assurance policy was required by the mortgage, and in error I thought it was reclaimable, and in error the fees office paid it,” he said. “As soon as the mistake came to light, I repaid the money.”

Mr Smith also claimed for hundreds of pounds worth of calls from his home phone and fax in Oxford under the incidental expenses provision (IEP), which is used to cover office costs.

He said the bills were submitted for calls made from his home office, and were properly reclaimable as an office cost.

His wife is employed at his constituency office and is paid “less than £24,000” per annum. She is contracted and paid for 25 hours a week as an office manager and caseworker and uses the second home “only occasionally”.

“I have always tried to keep to the spirit and the letter of the rules,” Mr Smith said.

“My mortgage interest costs are much less than the mortgage or rent for many other MPs, but I have had to spend significant amounts on repairs.

“During the period covered by these claims, as well as repairs needed to the kitchen and bathroom, there were problems with the downstairs floor, and with some of the plumbing and the boiler needed replacing because it was unsafe, so quite a lot of repair work had to be done.

“I reduced [claims] where materials were of a higher standard than those they replaced. I haven’t claimed for things like televisions or music systems.

“All work and materials I have claimed for were used in London. When errors in my claims have come to light I have paid the money back.”

Mr Smith added that he had recently published his expenses on his own constituency website.

Since 2004 he has claimed a total of £73,944 under the ACA and a total of £89,262 under the IEP. He has claimed a total of £564,937 in expenses, including staffing and travel costs, in that period.

MPs' expenses: Claim for cost of bailiffs


MPs' expenses: Claim for cost of bailiffs

An MP who employs his wife to work in his constituency office billed the taxpayer for bailiff fees after the property’s rent fell into arrears.

MPs' expenses: Claim for cost of bailiffs
Labour MP Sir Peter Soulsby who claimed for a bailiffs bill when he fell behind with his rent Photo: PA

Debt collectors were sent to the offices of Sir Peter Soulsby, where his wife Alison works for part of the week as his secretary, after he fell behind with his rent in October 2007.

The fees office agreed that the Labour MP for Leicester South should not be liable for the £472.59 bailiff’s bill and reimbursed him.

Sir Peter had arranged for the fees office to pay the £2,423 quarterly rent and service charge for his constituency office, close to Leicester’s city centre, direct to the landlord.

However, a request from Sir Peter’s office for the amount to be paid “went astray” and he slipped into arrears. He blamed the landlord because of a dispute over service charges.

A note on the letter by one of the fees office staff states: “OK to pay, charges do not appear to have been within the member’s control.”

Sir Peter also blamed the fees office. He said: “It was entirely the fees office’s fault that the bill for office rent had not been paid. They had failed to process the original bill – sent almost a month earlier for direct payment by them – or the resubmitted bill sent to them for payment nine days before the bailiffs arrived.”

Sir Peter, a former member of the Audit Commission, also fell behind on the business rates for his constituency office and was sent a final reminder by Leicester City Council – of which he used to be leader – before it was paid. Mrs Soulsby is paid £25,000 a year by the taxpayer to work as his secretary. Sir Peter said she spends Monday mornings at the Leicester office before travelling to London to work for him at Westminster. She returns to the Leicester office on Fridays.

While in London on parliamentary business, Sir Peter and his wife live in a luxury apartment situated in the former headquarters of MI6.

Sir Peter is reimbursed more than £2,000 a month in mortgage interest payments on the flat in the sought-after Perspective building, which enjoys stunning views of the London skyline. Sir Peter was elected as an MP in May 2005. He initially rented a flat in Kennington, south London, for £1473.33 a month. After his election, Sir Peter began furnishing the property, spending more than £1,150 over a two-week period.

In September 2006 Sir Peter bought the apartment in the Perspective building for £380,000 and designated this as his second home.

He was reimbursed £12,826 for moving costs including stamp duty, as well as his monthly mortgage interest payments of £2,057.33 – well above the limit of £1,205 now being proposed – and a quarterly service charge of £831.58 on the apartment.

Sir Peter said that his claims were “reasonable”, adding that he was one of only 27 MPs who voted against the Bill to block them from publishing their expenses by exempting the Commons from the Freedom of Information Act.

REFUGE IN FILMS FESTIVAL 2009

Dear Neighbours
You are warmly invited to the Refuge in Films Festival 2009. This has yet again been co-organised by New Generation, our young refugee group based at Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre. Their third annual film festival is at the British Film Institute on the South Bank in June.

All the best
Tim Boxall
Chair, VGCC

Dear Friends

Nueva Generacion and RefugeeYouth would like to invite you all to REFUGE IN FILMS FESTIVAL AT THE BFI-SOUTH BANK on the 19th, 20th, 21st JUNE.
Film Programme attached.

Thank you for your support and interest.

We hope to see you there!!!

www.nuevageneracion-uk.org
www.refugeeyouth.org
REFUGE IN FILMS FESTIVAL AT THE BFI-SOUTH BANK

For the third year running, Nueva Generacion and RefugeeYouth present Refuge in Films festival at the BFI Southbank. Refuge in Films 09 is dedicated to raising awareness about refugee and migrant issues. This year the festival is being entirely developed by a group of young people. By giving a voice to young refugees, the festival will address issues of representation of refugees and migrants in the film industry and will be a space of celebration, contributing to a more tolerant society.

The festival has been curated by a group of young people (19-25 years old) from New Generacion and RefugeeYouth that come from different
countries: Colombia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Zambia, D.R. Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, Palestine, Kosovo, Algeria, Angola, Guinea, Jamaica, Burundi, Bangladesh, U.S.A., France, Greece and England. Meeting weekly over three months to watch and discuss films from different angles, young people have created an amazing 3 day programme to be presented at the BFI in celebration of Refugee Week.

Please go to the following link for directions:
http://www.bfi.org.uk/whatson/bfi_southbank/visitor_information/how_to_get_here


If you would like to know more information please go to http://www.myspace.com/refugeinfilms or contact Beatriz Villate : refugeinfilms@gmail.com or 07903494703.


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

GET WALKING DAY 2009!! Saturday, 30 May

Join us on Get Walking Day 2009!
The Ramblers is holding a day of free, short walks across Britain and everyone is invited! Get Walking Day, on 30 May, is a celebration of walking with the aim of inspiring everybody to walk more as part of their everyday life.
Walking for a total of 30 minutes a day, five times a week is a recommended way to keep healthy. It is the easiest form of exercise for everyone - as well as being good for the environment and lots of fun! Almost everyone can do it, anywhere, at anytime and no special equipment is needed.

So invite your friends and family and join us on a free, short walk on 30 or 31 May!

Below are the local walks. For more information go to www.ramblers.org.uk/campaigns/gwd.

Saturday, 30 May

Brentford to Richmond

South Bank Group
Start time: 10:40am
Grade: leisurely
Distance: 4 miles
Longer description. This is a leisurely-paced flat walk along a bit of the Grand Union Canal to Brentford Lock and then along the Thames Path to Richmond for eating and/or drinking and/or shopping.

Kennington departure point: Kennington Underground Station: 9.30am sharp!

For the outward journey to Brentford catch the 10.07 from Waterloo calling at Vauxhall at 10.11 and Clapham Junction 10.17. (Note: Both train stations are SW trains zone 4.)
Contact name: Diane Kavanagh
Contact phone: 020 7735 5507 (on day only 0776 8816628)
Start Point: Brentford Train Station (Meet in the ticket office.)

Finish Point: Richmond Train Station

Terrain: riverside parks

Sunday, 31 May

Waterloo Circular

Metropolitan Walkers (20s 30s Group)

Start time: 1pm
Grade: leisurely

Distance: 4 miles
Contact name: Harriet
Contact phone:
07876 705095
Start Point: Waterloo tube/train station (zone 1) (meet under clock near Costa Coffee)

Finish
Point: Pub/cafe near Waterloo tube/train station (zone 1)

Terrain: Urban
Notes: Let's start walking at one of London's most romantic meeting places, under the clock at Waterloo station. You will recognise me as I will be wearing walking boots. Come and join us for a circular walk, around some of our favourite places to hang out in London. We'll end with refreshments (buy your own) at a local cafe or bar. Meet new people and get walking. There may be a pub stop along the way.

Protest March against further cuts in Housing Saturday 11am, May 30th, 2009

Protest March against further cuts in Housing

Saturday 11am, May 30th, 2009.
Brixton Town Hall


Please pass this on to your contacts.

Why should I get involved?

It seems that these policies are only serving to further cause larger problems across the housing services in Lambeth.

There are approximately 800 empty properties across the Borough which could be turned into usable housing - and we think there are plenty of people out there that would jump at the chance of getting their own Council flat. Selling these off is not the answer. Bringing them back into use is the way forward.

As for cutting staff - the current workload is too much for the existing number of staff. reducing he number of staff when the entire service is in meltdown only serves to create a backlog so huge that no-one could clear it up.

It is not often I get political about these things - but it would seem that our elected representatives are not thinking straight and rather than solve the problems, they are only looking at the bottom line.

Do attend if you can (leaseholder or otherwise) as the knock on effects will affect everyone as the charges will continue to increase and the level of service will decrease.

Please contact soslambeth@googlemail.com with any questions.

See you on Saturday!

Lambeth Housing Crisis

· No to sale of Council Housing

· No to privatisation

· No to job cuts

There are 17,000 residents on Lambeth’s Housing Waiting List and 2,000 in Temporary Accommodation... but Lambeth Council are AUCTIONING OFF council homes at rock-bottom prices, cutting jobs and giving away Council services to private companies only interested in profit.

UNISON is campaigning alongside tenants, leaseholders and community organisations to defend the interests of local residents and workers to oppose the Council’s policies. Council homes should be refurbished and used to house the homeless.

Saturday 30th May

Assemble 11am

Lambeth Town Hall

No more sell offs!

No to rent rises, job cuts and privatisation!



--
Steve Rice,
Co-Chair, North Lambeth Area Leasehold Forum

NORTH KENT: MPs Howard Stoate and Adam Holloway reveal expenses receipts


NORTH KENT: MPs Howard Stoate and Adam Holloway reveal expenses receipts

9:00am Saturday 23rd May 2009


TWO MPs have revealed to News Shopper their receipts for expenses claims made on their second homes.

Dartford MP Dr Howard Stoate and Gravesham MP Adam Holloway have released the costs of claims they made during 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2007/08, ahead of when all MPs’ claims are due to be published next month (June).

Dr Stoate has already announced that he will stop claiming the allowance on his second home in Kennington, south London, and return the £11,000 he has so far claimed during 2008/09.

Over the three years, Dr Stoate claimed for three kettles costing £29.99, £49.59 and £67.45, a £143.95 replacement radio/CD player, a £124.90 TV aerial, a £45 duvet and a £560.74 high definition 32" LCD TV.

The Labour MP said: “I have one kettle in my bedroom for a cup of tea in the morning and one in the kitchen. The third one broke.

“I don’t think the cost of the TV is the end of the world, it’s not excessive.”

He also used taxpayers’ money in May 2007 to buy a £329 fridge freezer, £279 dishwasher and spent £443 on DIY materials.

In July 2007 he bought a £49.99 toaster and a £299 microwave cooker, after buying one that later broke for £52.50 in February 2006.

He paid £200.48 to have a fence repaired in November 2007 and £89.85 for another fence repair in March 2008.

Over the three years he spent a total of £491.89 on gardening items and from July to November 2006 he claimed £541.77 on DIY materials.

Dr Stoate said: “I could have got a gardener and claimed more.

“I am keen on DIY, I find it therapeutic and relaxing.

“I don’t get people to come and fit things, I do it myself.”

September 2007 was the most expensive month, with £4,520 spent on replacement windows, £129.98 on gardening tools and £250 on furniture.

He said: “The replacement windows are the only big item. There were a couple of break ins in my road and the windows needed replacing for security issues.”

Dr Stoate says he always sought to abide by the rules and never claimed the full allowance in one year.

He said: “I fully understand the public anger and I must be prepared to accept responsibility for my part in a system long overdue for reform.”

Tory MP Adam Holloway claimed £500 for a TV in 2005/06, as well as spending £2,219.75 on furniture, £200 on a VHS/DVD player and £449 on a washer drier.

He also claimed £22.50 on half the cost of a frying pan, saying: “I charged for half the cost because a little bell rang in my head saying it was not reasonable to spend almost £50 on a frying pan.”

In the same year he claimed £239 for a hoover, £1.95 for two light bulbs and £40 for two lamps.

The following year he claimed £5,200 for carpeting and a total of £10,300 in stamp duty.

He said: “If you have an allowance for carpeting do you claim it or not claim it?

“An awful lot of work that has been done in this house has not been claimed for.”

In 2007/08 Mr Holloway claimed £342.51 on tiles for his hall and bathroom, £47.96 on a garden hose and sprinkler, £22.99 on a clothes rail and £19.99 on a wall stripper.

Mr Holloway said: “I attempted to not claim a second home allowance, but could not make it work.

"In September I sold my flat in London and began commuting from my place in Gravesend every day, but it was a nightmare.

"Because I start work at around 7.30am and didn't get home until around 11.20pm, there were times when I was only spending seven hours at home a day.

"Commuting made me less productive as an MP.

"So six weeks ago I got a flat in London near my office, and will decide whether to claim second home allowances for either the flat or the home in Gravesend."

"I have no plans to give up my second home allowance, as I use them for what they are for."

Gravesham MP Adam Holloway shows reporter Michael Purton his receipts for expenses claimed on his second home. Dartford MP Dr Howard Stoate has said he will stop claiming a second home allowance.

Gravesham MP Adam Holloway shows reporter Michael Purton his receipts for expenses claimed on his second home.

Dartford MP Dr Howard Stoate has said he will stop claiming a second home allowance.


http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/search/4390308.NORTH_KENT__Dartford_and_Gravesham_MPs_reveal_expenses_receipts/search4390308.print/

London MPs in stampede to offload their second homes


News

Dawn Butler
Claims: Dawn Butler's “near derelict” second home was 15 miles away

London MPs in stampede to offload their second homes

Joe Murphy
26.05.09

London's MPs are frantically dumping second homes as their expenses bill of almost £10 million a year comes under the spotlight.

Commons officials have been deluged with requests from members who want to cut their claims in a bid to appease outraged voters before the next general election.

And dozens of MPs from outside the capital are taking advantage of a £7,500 allowance designed for inner London MPs. They are dropping the more generous £24,000 second home allowances, and choosing to take this simpler pay boost — called the London Costs Allowance — for which no receipts are required.

The total cost of the capital's 72 members can today be revealed as £14.4 million. This includes £4.6 million for basic pay of £64,766 each, plus £9,702,378 office costs and expenses.

On average, a London MP claims £131,113 in allowances and expenses. Most goes on staff salaries and office costs which MPs say benefit only constituents, not themselves.

However, it is the total of £433,000 spent on second homes by some London MPs that has led to a series of scandals and allegations that they have been cashing in at the public's expense.

For several years the Standard has highlighted the absurd situation in which millions commute to the capital from far-flung towns yet MPs whose constituencies are only a few miles away demand flats in the centre.

One of the most notorious claimers, Brent North MP Barry Gardiner, now admits payments should have been reformed years ago. He has claimed more than £130,000 in the last seven years to run a flat, even though his constituency is eight miles from the Commons.

“The system was designed for a different age,” he said. “The Commons no longer sits all night as it often did when I was first elected in 1997, and I understand why people feel angry that the reform of parliamentary hours has not gone hand in hand with a reform of parliamentary expenses.

“I believe all MPs need to apologise to the public that we did not sort this out sooner, and for my part I make that apology unreservedly.”

Mr Gardiner recently voted to ban all outer London MPs from claiming for a flat. He is reckoned to have made almost £200,000 profit on the flat he purchased and renovated with the help of the public purse — but he did pay capital gains tax when he sold it, unlike Cabinet minister Hazel Blears, which means the taxpayer got much of its money back.

He said: “I do not enjoy spending half the week not seeing my wife and children, but I accept this because I wish to serve my constituents conscientiously. I habitually work in my parliamentary office up to and beyond midnight.”

Only 24 London MPs take anything from the second home allowance, claiming an average of £18,000 each. The most frugal is Hornchurch Conservative James Brokenshire, who last year took only £368.

Uniquely, he has never claimed the London Supplement (being replaced by the London Costs Allowance) a salary boost of £2,812 available as an alternative for those who do not bother with a second home.

The former City solicitor said he was happy without one: “I'm not holier than thou. I just do what I think is right with the expenses that are available.”

The next cheapest is Hendon Labour MP Andrew Dismore, whose Westminster flat cost taxpayers £3,815 last year. He is among those who have stopped claiming for a second home in recent weeks. Under new rules, MPs from any area can receive the £7,500 London Costs Allowance, paid out like salary with no receipts needed and no questions asked.

Among those switching are Tories Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet) and Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell), who have both been accused of milking the second home allowance with unreasonable claims.

Steve Pound, Labour MP for Ealing North, has claimed no second homes allowance since he became an MP in 1997. But his west London seat is surrounded by colleagues who have submitted controversial claims — Tony McNulty in Harrow East, Gareth Thomas in Harrow West, Dawn Butler in Brent South, Alan Keen in Feltham and Heston and Ann Keen in Brentford and Isleworth.

The Saints

James Brokenshire
Conservative MP for Hornchurch
Claimed £368 in second home expenses and did not take any London supplement — the lowest by far.

Kelvin Hopkins
Labour MP for Luton North
Travels with commuters on the Thameslink to London each morning, shunning a second home.

Paul Burstow
Sutton & Cheam MP, Liberal Democrat chief whip
Took the £2,812 London supplement instead of a second home, as did other London Lib-Dem MPs.

The Sinners

Dawn Butler
Labour MP for Brent South and Government whip
2007/8 claim: £23,083
She bought a “near derelict” home in Wembley, even though her main home was 15 miles away. She claimed £2,650 for a heating system. She also unwittingly claimed £2,600 too much for rent but offered to “dig out” receipts rather than pay it back.
Her defence: “All the claims are legitimate.”
Majority: 11,326 Vulnerability: Low

Chris Grayling
Tory MP for Epsom & Ewell and shadow home secretary
2007/8 claim: £15,332
He bought and renovated a flat in Pimlico using taxpayer funding even though his constituency home is 17 miles from the Commons.
His defence: He said a second home enabled him to service constituents and the shadow cabinet.
Majority: 16,447 Vulnerability: Very low

Tony McNulty
Labour MP for Harrow East, Employment Minister
2007/8 claim: £12,600
He designated his parents' house as his second home. It is in Harrow, eight miles from his main residence in Hammersmith and 11 miles from the Commons.
His defence: He insisted he made “considerable” use of it for his duties and no rules were broken.
Majority: 4,730 Vulnerability: High

Theresa Villiers
Tory MP for Chipping Barnet and shadow transport secretary
2007/8 claim: £18,181
She claimed £16,000 for a Kennington flat, despite owning a house in London, including £10,350 for stamp duty. She also claimed £1,062 interest on a £285,000 mortgage.
Her defence: “All the claims are within the rules.”
Majority: 5,960 Vulnerability: Low

The Keens
Labour MPs for Feltham & Heston and Brentford & Isleworth
2007/8 claim: Alan £19,855; Ann £18,338
They claimed almost £40,000 on a flat overlooking the Thames, 10 miles from their family house.
Their defence: Married MPs can claim for a property they share.
Majority: Alan: 6,820; Ann: 4,411
Vulnerability: High

Joan Ryan
Labour MP for Enfield North
2007/8 claim: £21,658
She spent £4,500 on repairs to her “main home”, 14 miles from the Commons. She then made a south London flat her main home, claiming £900 on gutters and French doors and £1,888 to redecorate.
Her defence: Rules obliged her to have the London main home while serving as a Home Office minister.
Majority: 1,920 Vulnerability: Very high

Key details: MP expenses claims

Key details: MP expenses claims

The Daily Telegraph has obtained details of MPs' expenses claims over the past four years which it has published.

Here is a summary of the claims made by some Labour politicians and their reaction to the reports.

FRASER KEMP

Claim: The Sunday Telegraph said Mr Kemp, the MP for Houghton and Washington East, claimed for two DVD players for his one-bedroom flat in the space of a month. He was also reimbursed for the cost of 16 bed sheets and claimed for two flat-screen televisions a year apart, it was reported. In the case of one of them, the Fees Office refused to pay the full £1,699 he asked for on the basis that the maximum claim was £750, it was suggested. The former Labour whip was also said to have bought goods including a freezer and fridge near his north-east England constituency, despite the London flat being designated his second home. He also charged the taxpayer £105.75 for an engineer to attend to his washing machine when he could not work out how to operate it, the Sunday Telegraph claimed.

Response: Mr Kemp told the Sunday Telegraph the claims for bed linen and a second DVD player were "an error for which I apologise" and that he would pay back the cash. He said he bought the second TV and fridge before moving in to a new flat. He said there had been a problem with his washing machine but that he would be happy to reimburse the sum claimed. On suggestions he had profited from the sale of his second home by claiming £1,532 to cover legal fees, he said: "I'll seek advice from HMRC to ensure appropriate liabilities have been met."

DAVID CLELLAND

Claim: The Tyne Bridge MP was said to have "bought out" his partner's share of a joint mortgage on a flat in London, costing the taxpayer thousands of pounds plus legal fees. The Telegraph said that after the deal, which was approved by the Commons Fees Office, the mortgage interest payments increased by £200 per month.

Response: Mr Clelland insisted it would have cost the taxpayer more had he rented a flat. He said his partner had initially viewed the property as an investment but that she legitimately decided to withdraw her money in 2004, when it was rumoured that MPs might be ordered to hand over any profits made from such properties to the taxpayer. He told the BBC the London flat was "not a home, it's the flat I live in... [it] is what I have to have to do my work as a member of parliament and that's why the costs fall on the taxpayer."

DAVID CHAYTOR

Claim: The Telegraph said the Bury North MP claimed nearly £13,000 for a mortgage he had already cleared. The paper says that between September 2005 and August 2006, the Labour backbencher claimed £1,175 a month in interest on his Westminster flat. However, Land Registry records show the mortgage was paid off in January 2004. The Telegraph also alleged that Mr Chaytor "flipped" the designation of his second home six times, including once to a house registered in his son's name. He reportedly blamed these actions on "changing and complex family circumstances".

Response: In a statement, Mr Chaytor told the Telegraph he apologised "unreservedly" for what had been "an unforgivable error in accounting procedures". He reportedly told the paper he would arrange repayment to the Commons fees office immediately. Mr Chaytor has referred himself to the parliamentary standards watchdog and has also been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party pending the outcome of investigations. A Downing Street spokesman said the matter was "very serious".

ELLIOT MORLEY

Claim: The Telegraph said the former environment minister claimed £16,000 in mortgage interest payments on his home in his Scunthorpe constituency even though the mortgage had ended 18 months before. Although records show his mortgage had been repaid by March 2006, Mr Morley continued to be reimbursed for £800 a month in 2006-7. The Telegraph claims the anomaly was not spotted earlier as Mr Morley re-designated his London home as his second residence - a move known as "flipping" - in November 2007. It says Mr Morley had been renting out his London flat to another Labour MP, Ian Cawsey who nominated it as his second home and claimed back the £1,000 a month rent he paid to Mr Morley. This arrangement ended in March 2008 after the Commons Fees office became aware of the situation.

Response: Mr Morley admits the error was entirely his fault and has apologised "unreservedly" for it. He says he repaid all of the money once he had discovered his mistake. He has referred the matter of his expenses to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for further scrutiny. However, Gordon Brown has acted by suspending Mr Morley as a member of the Parliamentary Labour Party and also suspending the whip from him in Parliament. Mr Morley has also been suspended from his role as Gordon Brown's climate change envoy. He has insisted he will continue to represent his constituents but at least one MP has called for him to stand down as an MP. Mr Cawsey told the Daily Telegraph he had been unaware of Mr Morley's financial arrangements.

SHAHID MALIK

Claim: The Telegraph says the Dewsbury MP claimed £66,827 from the second home allowance - the maximum allowed - over three years towards the cost of his London flat - bought in 2001 before he was elected. According to the paper, Mr Malik's claims over the period included £2,100 for a flat screen television, £1,420 for a bathroom, £671 for a fireplace and £730 for a massage chair. It says the Fees Office rejected the TV claim - ultimately granting the MP £1,050 for a TV and £250 for a DVD system - and a further claim for an iPod. Mr Malik is also reported to have claimed for a £65 court summons for not paying council tax. While claiming the equivalent of £443 per week for his London flat, the Telegraph says Mr Malik was paying less than £100 a week to rent a property in his constituency from a local businessman. It says the rental agreement with the businessman, from whom it says the MP also rented a constituency office - began in 2004 and continued until 2008 when Mr Malik married and moved into a larger property in the town.

Response: The justice minister defended his claims as being totally within the rules but has stepped down from his post pending an inquiry into whether receiving a preferential rent on his Dewsbury property breached the ministerial code. He emphatically rejects claims he was paying a peppercorn rent for his Dewsbury property, saying this was a fabrication. Mr Malik has repaid the £65 claim for council tax summons and has said he will make a £1050 donation - relating to the value of the TV - to good causes in his constituency as a "gesture". He said he would not give the money back to the fees office because they had approved all his expenditure in the first place. He said he had claimed for "basic essentials" under the second home allowance such as mortgage interest, utility bills and council tax and had behaved "one million per cent by the book". As for furnishings, he said he did not receive a "good service" from the Commons Fees Office which didn't tell him there was an upper limit on individual claimable items. He says the Green Book which governs what MPs can claim was full of "subjective rules" and the system was now "in tatters". He said he had never "flipped" his home arrangements and always spent most of his time in Dewsbury. He said the Telegraph had picked him out - rather than David Cameron, who he said had claimed as much as him - because it was a Conservative-supporting newspaper.

GORDON BROWN

Claim: The prime minister paid his brother, Andrew, £6,577 for arranging cleaning services for his Westminster flat for 26 months.

Since reporting the arrangement, the Telegraph group has clarified that there "has never been any suggestion of any impropriety on the part of the Prime Minister or his brother".

Response: No 10 said the two shared a cleaner who worked in both their flats. Andrew Brown paid her and was reimbursed for his share of the cost. He did not do the cleaning himself or gain financially.

There was a formal contract for the arrangement, Downing Street sources add, stipulating the cleaner's hours of work and pay. The cleaner wanted to be paid by one person for National Insurance purposes.

Claim: Gordon Brown also claimed twice for the same plumbing work within six months of each other.

Response: The House of Commons Fees Office said the mistake had been inadvertent and apologised for having not spotted it. Gordon Brown is understood to have repaid the sum involved - believed to be £150.

JACK STRAW

Claim: The justice secretary over-claimed £1,500 on council tax on his second home.

He made a claim for the full bill despite getting a 50% discount from the local authority for the property.

Response: A spokesman for Mr Straw said he acted within the rules. He spotted the mistaken council tax claim himself and repaid the money himself. Mr Straw later told the BBC: "I have acted in complete good faith and within the rules. It is an error, which obviously I wish hadn't happened, but in circumstances in which I was incredibly busy during that period - that is not an excuse, it is just an explanation."

ANDY BURNHAM

Claim: The culture secretary was reportedly battling with the fees office for eight months over a £16,500 expenses claim to buy and renovate a new London flat which was eventually paid, after being rejected three times.

He also claimed a £19.99 bath robe bought from Ikea in 2007 that was not allowed.

Response: Mr Burnham insists he did not profit from the property transaction. He made only permissible claims and returned a £1,000 surplus to the Fees Office for allowances he did not spend.

On the Ikea receipt, he made a "genuine oversight" on one item. When it was discovered, he corrected it and he was not reimbursed.

LORD MANDELSON

Claim: The business secretary claimed for improvements on his constituency home after he announced he was leaving Parliament to become an EU Commissioner.

He later sold the property for a profit of £136,000.

Response: Lord Mandelson rejected claims he used taxpayers' cash to "renovate" his home for profit, insisting the money was spent on essential maintenance. He said the Telegraph's 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.

GERALD KAUFMAN

Claim: Veteran Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman is alleged to have claimed £1,851 for a rug imported from a New York antique centre and tried to claim more than £8,000 for a television. The Telegraph also said he entered a claim for £28,834 - more than £15,000 of which was paid - for improvements to his London home, after telling officials he was "living in a slum".

Response: Mr Kaufman refused to comment publicly on the allegations when confronted by reporters in his Manchester Gorton constituency. Earlier, he reportedly told the Telegraph he had offered to repay the money for the rug and called the television claim "a bit daft".

PAUL MURPHY

Claim: The Welsh Secretary claimed for a new boiler after saying his existing hot water system was "too hot".

Response: His old boiler was replaced after it was deemed unsafe and could not be repaired. All his claims were within the rules and "assiduously" checked by the authorities.

JOHN PRESCOTT

Claim: The former deputy prime minister claimed £312 for the fitting of mock Tudor beams to the front of his constituency home in Hull and in December 2004 a plumber charged him £210.79 for pipework, taps and to "refix WC seat," according to the newspaper. In September 2006, he put a £112.52 repair bill on expenses, which included "refit WC seat".

Response: Mr Prescott said: "Every expense was within the rules of the House of Commons on claiming expenses at the time."

SHAUN WOODWARD

Claim: Taxpayers contributed almost £100,000 to help pay the mortgage on a £1.35m flat owned by the Northern Ireland secretary, it is reported.

The money went on mortgage interest payments and council tax between 2004 and 2008 for the flat. Married to a member of the Sainsbury family and worth an estimated £15m - Mr Woodward is the richest member of the cabinet, though he does not draw a full ministerial salary.

Response: The Northern Ireland secretary's spokesman has said the claims are within the rules and guidelines but Mr Woodward admitted politicians collectively looked "shameful". He said: "If I try to make almost any defence of our collective position - or my position - it looks terrible." However, he added that politicians of all parties "are good people who try by and large to do a good job" within a "rotten" system.

CAROLINE FLINT

Claim: The Telegraph claims the Europe minister put solicitors' fees and stamp duty totalling £14,553 on her Parliamentary expenses after buying a central London flat.

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.

Response: Ms Flint told the Telegraph she had sought advice from Commons officials at each stage and "never sought to make personal gains from public funds". She said only about half the cost of her London flat - including stamp duty - was met through public funds as she had contributed a "substantial amount" towards the cost of buying it from the proceeds of a previous flat sale.

PAUL GOGGINS

Claim: The MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East claimed £2,800 for a settee and £2,000 for a carpet to furnish his second home. The Telegraph also accused Mr Goggins, who is Northern Ireland minister, of "flipping" his two houses in London and Manchester to make a profit. The paper also reports he allowed a university friend to live rent-free in a home paid for by the taxpayer.

Response: Mr Goggins defended his household purchases by saying he liked to "live by decent standards". "I do not lead an extravagant lifestyle, people should remember that we have to furnish our first home with our own money," he said.

Mr Goggins denied flipping his houses and said he was told to change the designation of his second home when he became a minister: "To try and suggest that I did it to make money is absolute nonsense, it was compulsory."

On allowing university friend Chris Bain to live rent-free, he said the arrangements were based on a "30-year friendship" and due to the fact that Mr Bain had been the joint owner of the property for six years between 1997 and 2003.

MARGARET BECKETT

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

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

Response: The former foreign secretary said: "Grace and favour homes are not rent free, we are taxed on them as a benefit in kind."

NICK BROWN

Claim: The Chief Whip claimed £18,000 in expenses without receipts for food over four years. He also claimed £250 a month for a cleaner, £200 a month for "service and maintenance", and £200 a month for "repairs" - all without receipts. Mr Brown - who has been put in charge of investigating claims involving Labour MPs - also claimed £87,708 for his constituency home between 2004 and 2008. In 2007/8 his mortgage interest repayments were £6,600. But he claimed £23,068 - just £15 below the maximum permitted - by including £4,800 for food, £2,880 for services, £2,880 for "repairs and insurance", £1,810 for utilities, £1,640 for phones and £897.65 for cleaning.

Response: Mr Brown, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend, told his local newspaper, The Journal, that his claims were "not unreasonable" and were all for genuine expenses. He added: "I am working flat out for the people that I represent and the politics that I believe in."

BARBARA FOLLETT

Claim: The tourism minister claimed £25,411.64 for security patrols at her London home after she was mugged.

She also requested £528.75 to have a Chinese needlepoint rug repaired and cleaned but that was deemed excessive by the Fees Office and she was handed back just £300.

Response: Mrs Follett told the BBC: "I claimed it, it's within the rules and I have no comment to make." She had earlier told the Telegraph that only two of the claims she had submitted during the last 12 years had been disputed and that the one item not accepted had been claimed in error.

PHIL WOOLAS

Claim: The Telegraph suggested the immigration minister had claimed for nappies and women's clothing when submitting requests for expenses.

It said it was unclear how these items had been justified because parliamentary rules only allowed payouts for items which were "exclusively" for MPs' own use.

Response: Mr Woolas has threatened legal action over the "disgusting" allegations. He said the items had been on supermarket receipts submitted as part of a claim for food expenses but that he had never asked for money for them. Mr Woolas described the expenses records as "stolen property".

Claim: In response to Mr Woolas' complaints, the Sunday Telegraph claimed that in August 2004 he had submitted five receipts totalling £210.31 for food and was reimbursed in full. However, the paper points out that the receipts included non-permissible items such as disposable bibs, nail polish, comics and a ladies' jumper.

Response: Mr Woolas told the newspaper he understood the extrapolation but insisted he had done nothing wrong. He has pointed out that - under rules at the time - he was not obliged to submit receipts for food totalling up to £400. He has also pointed out that he did not claim for women's clothing, as the newspaper claims. He said he had actually submitted six receipts totalling £245.98, meaning he did not receive taxpayers' money for some items. "I am being hung out to dry for being honest," he said.

PHIL HOPE

Claim: Care Services Minister Phil Hope was said to have spent more than £37,000 over about four years on refurbishing and furnishing a two-bedroom south London flat.

Response: Mr Hope has said his claims for running and furnishing the flat were "in full accordance with the rules" and that the purchases were "no more than was necessary to live in a habitable residence". However, he has decided to pay back £41,709 of the money in light of the public anger about the expenses system. He said negative coverage about his claims had been a "massive blow" to him and his family and reduced the standing in which he was held by his constituents.

DAWN BUTLER

Claim: The Labour whip offered to "dig out" other receipts after she over-claimed rent on her constituency home by £2,600 - an offer which was accepted by the Commons fees office. After the Brent South MP bought a home in Wembley, she claimed £2,650 for a central heating system and installed a whirlpool bath in a suite costing £2,308 - even though her main home was just 15 miles away in east London. Though just £800 was claimed for the bathroom, the parliamentary green book says payments should not be made for "capital costs of repairs which go beyond making good dilapidations and enhance the property".

Response: Ms Butler denied the claim about the whirlpool bath and said she was taking legal advice. "There is nothing underhand here in any of my claims. All the claims are for legitimate expenditure," she added.

KEITH VAZ

Claim: The chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee claimed more than £75,000 to fund a second home in Westminster, even though his family home is just 12 miles away in Stanmore.

The Telegraph also suggested he changed his designated second home for a single year to property in his Leicester constituency, before claiming more than £4,000 on furnishings.

Response: Mr Vaz told the BBC he lived in Leicester and that his second home was in Westminster. He has had a Westminster flat since becoming an MP in 1987. He made no claim for the Stanmore home, which he acquired on getting married and was - he pointed out - not in central London. "It's on junction 4 of the M1 and I keep the Westminster flat for early morning meetings as do many MPs who live in that block," he said.

BEN BRADSHAW

Claim: A health minister, the Telegraph claimed he had switched his second home designation to a more expensive jointly-owned London property and claimed full mortgage interest payments, in order for his partner to "benefit from the system".

The couple had previously split the mortgage costs, the paper said. However, it claimed that Mr Bradshaw was now submitting the entire cost of interest on the property to be paid out of expenses.

Response: Exeter MP Mr Bradshaw told the BBC he had always claimed for their London home and only briefly switched to claiming for his constituency property between 2003 and 2006, because of a temporary rule telling ministers to claim constituency rather than London costs. The minister said before he and his partner entered into a civil partnership in 2006 he had claimed only a proportion of the mortgage interest - even though he would have been entitled to claim it all. Since then, he had claimed for and paid the full mortgage interest on their London property, as the rules allowed, he said. He added that he always submitted comparatively low claims and had long called for reform of the expenses system.

MARGARET MORAN

Claim: According to the Telegraph, the Labour MP for Luton South spent £22,500 treating dry rot at the coastal property in Southampton she had designated as her second home - even though it was a two-hour drive from Parliament and 100 miles from her constituency.

Response: Ms Moran has now said she will pay back the money claimed for her Southampton home. She said it was claimed in full consultation with staff at the Commons fees office and said she had stuck to the rules. But she added: "However, I do understand constituents' anger at the current fees regime, which is why I will be repaying the full amount claimed for my home in Southampton." Explaining her claim days earlier she said her partner had worked in Southampton for 20 years and that she could not "make him come to Luton all the time". She said: "I have to have a proper family life and I can't do that unless I share the costs of the Southampton home with him." Ms Moran also said there had been some "inaccuracies" which were "probably actionable" in the Telegraph reports.

KITTY USSHER

Claim: Within a year of being elected in 2005, Ms Ussher is said to have set out to the Commons authorities over two pages a list of "essential repairs" to her Victorian house in south London.

It detailed how the house "was relatively cheap to purchase but requires quite a lot of work". Among the work listed was replacing "rotten" sash windows and a "grimy" stair carpet. She received the full £22,110 allowance, although her requests to replace "strange" plumbing and "bad taste" Artex were refused. The Sunday Telegraph claimed she had already lived in the house for five years.

Response: The work and pensions minister's spokesman said Ms Ussher "fully supports" the review into MPs' expenses claims and believed it was right that MPs expenses' claims should be published. "All her claims were in line with the relevant House of Commons rules and guidance and have been approved by the Fees Office," he said.

TAM DALYELL

Claim: Former long-serving Labour MP Tam Dalyell attempted to claim £18,000 for bookcases, two months before retiring from Parliament in 2005, the Telegraph alleged.

Response: Mr Dalyell, formerly MP for Linlithgow, said he was "absolutely unrepentant" about the claim. He told the BBC he had bought the bookcases to store documents gathered during his political career and had approached the Fees Office to ask what proportion of the £18,000 he could claim back in expenses. He said the office eventually paid about £7,800. He said he believed it was "a legitimate office expense" and would "definitely not" pay the money back.

KEVIN BRENNAN

Claim: It is claimed the junior minister 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.

Response: Mr Brennan, Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Cabinet Office, said the Telegraph story was "a thinly-disguised smear which has absolutely no basis in fact". He said all items claimed for which were purchased in or delivered to his Cardiff home were for exclusive use in the London property, and after the larger items were stored in his garage they were taken east by a local business. Mr Brennan insisted that he had always stuck to the rules, but said the system needed to be "urgently reformed".

IAIN WRIGHT AND TOM WATSON

Claim: The two Labour ministers have claimed more than £100,000 for a shared London flat since May 2005, according to the Telegraph. The ministers each claimed for their share of the legal costs involved in purchasing the property and then later for the fees to buy the freehold. Neither minister has yet responded.

BARRY GARDINER

Claim: The MP for Brent North made a profit of almost £200,000 from a flat mortgaged and renovated with the help of taxpayers' cash, the Telegraph has alleged. He is yet to respond.

CHRIS BRYANT

Claim: The Telegraph accused the MP for Rhondda of "flipping" his second home twice in two years, allowing him to claim almost £20,000 in expenses.

Response: Mr Bryant, who is deputy leader of the House of Commons, described the allegations as "unfounded and inaccurate". The openly-gay MP said he moved to a more secure property after "a series of attacks on my home" and had asked the Fees Office what work on the new house he could claim back.

VERA BAIRD QC

Claim: The Solicitor General - one of the government's top legal advisers - was refused a £268 claim for Christmas decorations.

Response: Ms Baird insists she has broken no rules.

STEPHEN BYERS

Claim: The former Trade Secretary used the expenses system to claim more than £125,000 for the London flat owned by his partner, it is claimed.

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

Response: Mr Byers told the Sunday Telegraph all his claims were within the rules and had been approved by Commons authorities.

JOHN REID

Claim: The Telegraph has suggested the former Home Secretary claimed for a £199 pouffe, a £370 armchair and an £899 sofa.

He is also said to have submitted receipts for £486.50 spent at Marks and Spencer last August on items including slotted spoons, three rattan bins, oven mitts, wineglasses and ice cube trays. His expenses claim for 2007-08 also included a letter from the TV Licensing authority warning the occupier of the property "there is no valid television licence". Mr Reid's office pointed out that the TV licensing letter was addressed to the previous occupier of the property.

TONY BLAIR

Claim: The former Prime Minister used 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 £3.65m.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the loan would have been enough to cover the cost of the deposit on the new home. It said he was able to claim for interest repayments on almost a third of the new mortgage on his constituency home.

Response: His spokesman told the newspaper Mr Blair only claimed back the interest repayments on the portion of the mortgage which covered the purchase price and improvements to the house. There was no cost to the taxpayer in the rest of the money raised against the property, he added.

CLAIRE WARD

Claim: The government whip claimed up to £1,150 in "petty cash" over eight months on her second home allowance. When told by the fees office in 2004 that cash payments were not permitted, she stopped claiming but did not return the money. Ms Ward, MP for Watford, switched her second home to a flat just a few minutes walk from her old property and more than doubled her mortgage interest payments.

Response: Ms Ward told the Telegraph that the claims for "petty cash" were clarified as "miscellaneous household items". She denied "flipping" her second home for financial gain, saying that she had sold a one-bedroom flat and bought a two-bedroom flat in anticipation of her new family. As she had an offset mortgage, she said, her housing costs had "fluctuated".

MARK LAZAROWICZ

Claim: Edinburgh North and Leith MP Mark Lazarowicz claimed more than £5,000 in costs for legal and professional fees incurred in extending the lease of his London flat.

Response: Mr Lazarowicz has decided to repay about £2,675 of those costs.

While the claims had been approved by the Fees Office, he said he had only realised the scale of the legal costs associated with the extension - which led to a lengthy dispute - in recent days.

He said the amount was "much higher" than many of the public would be prepared to accept and that it was right that he repaid a "substantial" share of it.

ALAN AND ANN KEEN

Claim: The Telegraph says Labour MPs Alan and Ann Keen - who are married - have claimed £137,679 between them towards a central London flat despite the fact their family home is less than ten miles away. According to the paper, the couple bought the London property in 2002 and have, between them, claimed more than £30,000 towards it in each of the past four years. The couple's main home is in Brentford. Alan Keen is MP for Feltham and Heston while Ann Keen - a junior health minister - is MP for neighbouring Brentford and Isleworth. The paper said the couple claimed for interest payments on a £520,000 mortgage for the London flat even though the actual purchase price of the property was £500,000. It also claims the Fees Office had reduced their awards in 2007 because both MPs had claimed for council tax on the London property. Among the couple's claims on the London property, the paper adds, were a £50 call-out fee for fixing the sound on a home cinema system.

Response: The couple say that, under the second home allowance rules, married MPs are entitled to separately claim for a property that they share and live in together. Alan Keen said the Commons authorities had agreed to the mortgage repayment claims after the couple explained to them that their bank had asked for the loan to be secured against both properties for added security. He said the authorities had agreed that the value of the London flat was £520,000, the couple having bought it for £500,000 and agreed to pay the seller an additional £20,000 for fixtures and fittings.

IAN AUSTIN

Claim: The government whip attempted to spread his claim for stamp duty on his second home in London across two financial years. Mr Austin, MP for Dudley North, divided the stamp duty on the purchase of the London flat in March 2006 into two claims - £6,770 on 28 March and £1,344 on 3 April. As a result, he was able to claim nearly all his second home allowance for the financial year 2005/6. Although the £1,344 claim was rejected by the fees office, Mr Austin was repaid for the move's legal costs in 2006-7. He was also alleged to have "flipped" his second home weeks before purchasing the flat.

Response: Mr Austin told the Daily Telegraph that an error in calculating the costs of the move resulted in the stamp duty claim being refused. He said the fees office had advised him to split the costs over two financial years. Mr Austin added that he apologised for the miscalculation and no payments were received or made as a result of the error.

HILARY ARMSTRONG

Claim: Labour's former chief whip claimed £3,100 towards the cost of treating the gables and walls of her constituency home.

Response: The MP for Durham North West says the gables needed correcting because of a problem of "hornets getting into the cavity wall". The work was "essential" to maintaining the basic infrastructure of the house, she added.

STEVE MCCABE

Claim: The Labour whip and MP for Birmingham Hall Green over-claimed £4,059 on his mortgage over two years.

Response: Mr McCabe told the BBC he disputes the sum. He said he "did make an error", as he told the Telegraph. But once the Fees Office notified him of this, he sorted it out by offsetting against subsequent claims.

BEN CHAPMAN

Claim: The Wirral South MP claimed for interest payments on his mortgage that he had already paid off, the Telegraph reports.

Having repaid £295,000 of the loan in 2002, Mr Chapman continued to receive £15,000 over 10 months for the interest part of the mortgage which he no longer paid. According to the Telegraph, this situation was not unique to Mr Chapman.

Response: Mr Chapman says the Fees Office has informed him that the advice he was given in 2002 about what he could claim back on his mortgage was incorrect and he was effectively "misled". He regrets the error was not spotted earlier but that it was dealt with in 2003 when it emerged. He says he never intended to receive money he was not entitled to and stresses there is no evidence that this ever happened. He says he has done nothing wrong. However, he has decided to stand down at the next election because of the damage that the allegations have done to him, his family and his constituents.

IAN MCCARTNEY

Claim: The former Labour party chairman claimed £16,000 on furniture and decorating his second home but repaid it all last year after the rules on what MPs could claim for were tightened up.

Response: "I personally decided to ask for an audit of my old accounts based on the new system.

"All the amounts that I have claimed were with the rules and appropriate and had been approved. Despite the terrible flaws in the system I have done everything humanly possible to do the right thing."

The MP has since announced he will be standing down at the next election for health reasons.

MADELEINE MOON

Claim:

The Bridgend MP submitted receipts for more than £4,000 on furniture for her designated second home, in London, that was delivered to her constituency home in Wales.

Response: "The Welsh shop in Wales even when it is for installation in London by a London contractor."

DIANA JOHNSON

Claim: Ms Johnson, a government whip and MP for Hull North, claimed nearly £1,000 for hiring an architect for a decorating project at her second home.

Response: Her spokesman said her home was in a conservation area and had required planning permission to replace the windows. The work was carried out after it had been found that the windows were rotten. All of the expenditure had been approved. However, Miss Johnson repaid the money around two months ago.

GEORGE MUDIE

Claim:

The MP for East Leeds claimed £62,000 in expenses over four years for his London flat while having a mortgage of £26,000. The fees office questioned him over buying furniture in Leeds despite having assigned his London flat as his second home.

Response: The Labour backbencher said that although bought in Leeds, the items were for his flat in London. He added: "The goods were purchased in Leeds mainly because I prefer shopping with my wife. They were transported to London when convenient, either by car (the smaller items) or by van."

IAN DAVIDSON

Claim: The paper says Mr Davidson claimed nearly £1,500 for reclining furniture for his London flat although it was delivered to his main home in Glasgow. It reports that the MP paid a property search firm nearly £6,000 to help him find a flat, a proportion of which was reimbursed from public funds. It also says he paid a "family friend" £5,500 to renovate his second home.

Response: The MP for Glasgow South West, a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, says he employed a professional property firm after spending "many fruitless hours" looking for a flat in London. He said the Fees Office agreed the cost of this was "acceptable". The Commons authorities gave him permission to employ a Glaswegian firm to do essential work on his flat rather than a London-based one as it was cheaper, he added. The furniture was initially sent to Glasgow as his constituency home was always occupied while access to his London flat for deliveries was limited as it fronted onto a bus lane and had restricted parking. It was later delivered to London.

RUTH KELLY

Claim: The Daily Telegraph alleged that the former cabinet minister claimed £31,000 of taxpayers' money for flood damage to her second home, even though she had a building insurance policy at the time.

Ms Kelly also tried to claim £3,600 for a sofa and chairs, £2,355 for a dining table and chairs, and £2,000 for a plasma screen television but they were reduced by the fees office for being excessive.

Response: Ms Kelly insisted that she made an entirely legitimate claim after flooding at her constituency home. She told the BBC that "my claim was neither ludicrous claim nor a phantom claim", unlike others featured in the Telegraph. She argued that the furniture which she claimed to replace was "worthless" since it was 30 years old having been inherited from her parents - and so could not have been claimed on insurance. She says that the rebuilding work was handled in her absence whilst she was juggling being a minister and the mother of four young children. She concedes that she did not explore whether she could have claimed on her building insurance.

NATASCHA ENGEL

Claim: The North East Derbyshire MP spent £1,800 on a television, £2,900 on a sofa and £1,950 on a bed within months of being elected. She also claimed for 12 wine glasses and six champagne flutes at £30 each. After contacting the fees office to say she was aware her claims were over the maximum permissible, her allowance was docked accordingly. She received £750 each for the television and the bed plus £2,000 for the sofa.

Response: Ms Engel said she had put her expenses with explanatory notes on her website.

SARAH MCCARTHY-FRY

Claim: The junior education minister submitted a receipt for a £100 pair of hair straighteners. But she was told she would not be reimbursed because the fees office was "unable to allow costs relating to personal items, in this case hair stylers".

Response: Ms McCarthy-Fry, who is also MP for Portsmouth North, told the Daily Telegraph: "I fully accept this was a personal item that was claimed in error and was correctly rejected by the fees office."

IAN GIBSON

Claim: The Daily Telegraph said Dr Gibson claimed for a flat which his daughter and her partner lived in rent-free. It also claimed the Norwich North MP then sold it to them for less than he paid and well below market value.

Response: Dr Gibson has insisted he acted within the rules and "made nothing on the house whatsoever". But he said he could understand why members of the public might think his arrangements were "unfair" and offered to stand down as an MP if his constituents wanted.

ALISTAIR DARLING

Claim: The chancellor claimed £10,000 towards the cost of furnishing the London flat he bought in 2005, according to The Telegraph.

Mr Darling bought the £226,000 property near the Oval cricket ground, claiming £2,074 for furniture and £2,339 for carpets. There was also a £765 claim from Ikea and £768 from Marks and Spencer's for a bed. The £146 cost of staying in a hotel while his flat was being renovated in September 2005 was rejected by the fees office on the grounds that the property was counted as his second home.

But Mr Darling successfully argued that he was "between second homes" and the bill was later paid. He also used his expenses to cover the stamp duty of £2,260 and legal fees totalling £1,238.

It was also reported that 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 both his Edinburgh home and for the London flat.

In further disclosures about MPs, Mr Darling was said to have spent £1,400 for help filling in his tax return over two years.

Response: Mr Darling said: "The claims were made within House of Commons rules which were designed to reflect the fact that MPs have to meet the cost of living in two places."

He added that he had employed an accountant "to ensure that the correct amount of tax was paid in respect of my office costs".

HAZEL BLEARS

Claim: The communities secretary claimed for three different properties in a single year, spending almost £5,000 of taxpayers' money on furniture in three months, the Telegraph reports.

She also claimed for stays at London hotels after selling her flat. In March 2004, she 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 over the following two months. In December, she bought another London flat for £300,000, claiming a monthly mortgage of £1,000 and a grocery bill of £400.

It was also reported that she claimed for accountancy services and a £219 digital camera.

Response: Ms Blears has admitted she did not pay capital gains tax (CGT) on the £45,000 profit from the flat sale and has agreed to repay £13,332. CGT is charged at 40% on the sale of homes the Inland Revenue does not consider to be a main residence. At the time, it was registered as her second home for expenses purposes. Ms Blears said she had complied with both Commons and Revenue and Customs rules but had agreed to repay the tax anyway. Ms Blears said her outlay on furnishings - such as mattresses and pillows - was "reasonable". She added that her use of an accountancy firm was in line with Commons rules.

GEOFF HOON

Claim: The Daily Telegraph said the Transport Secretary did not pay capital gains tax on the sale of his London home in 2006. Previously, it had reported that Mr Hoon switched his "second home" designation - refurbishing his family home in Derbyshire at taxpayers' expense before buying a London townhouse.

At the time he was defence secretary and later Commons leader and had a "grace and favour" Whitehall apartment. After losing that apartment in 2006, the newspaper says he bought a Georgian townhouse in Westminster and declared that as his second home. He went on to claim £21,995 in 2006/07 and £23,083 in 2007/8 - the maximum allowed. His monthly mortgage interest payments, picked up by the taxpayer, increased from £270 to almost £900.

The newspapers also said that his claims for accountancy services reached almost £3,000 over two years, and that he put a £200 digital camera on office expenses.

Response: Mr Hoon said he rejected "any suggestion of any wrongdoing" and said he had been "assiduous" in reporting his tax obligations. He said the Inland Revenue and a firm of chartered accountants he had consulted had both agreed there was no need to pay capital gains tax. A spokeswoman said he did not intend to repay any money and Downing Street has said it believes he complied with the letter and the spirit of the law.

In response to the earlier claims, Mr Hoon said he still had "significant costs" to meet at his grace and favour flat at Admiralty House - although it was rent free. "These were comparable to the costs I would have incurred if I had continued to live in my own property, therefore a claim under the ACA for my constituency home was not unreasonable," he said. He said officials told him it was within the rules and similar claims had been made by previous ministers. His claim for accountants was also within the rules, he added.

DAVID MILIBAND

Claim: The foreign secretary claimed almost £30,000 for doing up his £120,000 constituency home over five years, it was reported. He spent up to £180 every three months on the garden at the property in South Shields. Additionally, he paid the husband of former Labour MP Meg Munn for tax advice.

Response: According to Mr Miliband's spokesman "at every stage, David Miliband followed procedures and rules as laid out by the parliamentary authorities."

DOUGLAS ALEXANDER

Claim: The International Development Secretary's constituency home was damaged in a house fire in 2007 after he spent more than £30,000 on repairing it, according to the Telegraph.

He 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. He claimed £2,413 in accountancy bills and £230 for a digital camera, but was forced to pay a £750 bill for Christmas cards himself after being told they were not covered by the allowance. He also reportedly charged for advice from media consultant Scarlett McGwire and paid for advertising at lower league Johnstone Burgh FC.

Response: Mr Alexander said that he had sought the advice of the Fees Office after the fire that damaged his property, "to obtain their guidance as to what it was appropriate to claim in these circumstances, given my continuing need for accommodation to allow me to undertake my work as an MP". He said the camera was used to take photographs of constituency events.

JACQUI SMITH

Claim: The Home Secretary was reported to have bought husband Richard Timney, whom she employs as her assistant, a £240 Apple iPhone on her office expenses. Ms Smith had previously been forced to pay back £10 she had claimed for two adult films he watched.

She also charged the taxpayer for her accountancy costs and £1,600 for three digital cameras and a camcorder over three years.

Response: A spokesman for Ms Smith said the claims were needed for responses to "constituents' needs", according to the Daily Telegraph.

HARRIET HARMAN

Claim: The Leader of the Commons claimed over £10,000 for the services of media consultant Scarlett McGwire. Ms Harman, who is Labour's deputy leader, submitted more than a dozen claims for the adviser's help between 2004 and 2007.

Response: A spokesman for Ms Harman said: "The sum paid to Ms McGwire was in respect of advising on and drafting speeches, including speeches on flexible working for parents, on tackling domestic violence and increasing childcare; drafting questionnaires to her constituents; editing of her annual report to her constituents on issues such as housing, the NHS and policing; editing of constituency newsletters; and editing of other reports for her constituency and parliamentary work."

HILARY BENN

Claim: The Environment Secretary claimed £1,882 for tax advice over a period of three years, the Daily Telegraph said.

Response: Mr Benn, who is the MP for Leeds Central, has not yet commented on the report.

JAMES PURNELL

Claim: The Daily Telegraph alleged that the work and pensions secretary avoided paying capital gains tax on the sale of a London flat after claiming expenses for tax advice from an accountant. The paper says he also charged for a £395 accountant's bill that included advice on the sale of his flat.

Response: Mr Purnell is challenging the allegation that he avoided capital gains tax. A spokesman said any such suggestion was "completely untrue". He said Mr Purnell sought advice that the rules were the same for MPs as other taxpayers and asked Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to double-check his calculations. The spokesman added: "When he bought his constituency home, the sale of his London flat fell through, but it was sold within the period that HMRC continue to treat it as not being liable for CGT. No one pays CGT when they sell the only house they own and James was not liable for capital gains tax on his London flat." HMRC confirmed that there was no capital gains tax to pay, the spokesman said. Downing Street has said it was backing Mr Purnell.

ED BALLS AND YVETTE COOPER

Claim: The Telegraph says Ms Cooper re-designated, or "flipped", her second home from a property in South Yorkshire to the London home she owned with her husband Ed Balls in 2005 - after he was elected to the Commons. After that, the paper says the couple each claimed half of the share of their £1,468 mortgage interest costs. In May 2007, the couple moved to a larger home in London and began claiming £1,031 each in mortgage interest as well as £2,000 in moving costs. According to the paper, the two submitted the same claim twice in July 2006. Additionally, Mr Balls was said to have charged £33 for two Remembrance Sunday poppy wreaths, although the claim was turned down.

Response: Ms Cooper, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said she sought advice from the Commons authorities before changing her second home arrangement in 2005. The two MPs say they split the cost of bills evenly and since moving in 2007, have claimed less than in allowances than in the previous two years. Between them, they claimed just over £24,000 in 2007-8, above the £23,083 limit for a single MP but well below the £46,000 threshold for couples. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner investigated their second home arrangement in 2008 and approved it, pointing out the couple had paid capital gains tax on the flat sale. The couple said the 2006 'double claim' was an inadvertent error and the correct amount was paid once spotted. Mr Balls added that the claim for the wreaths "was submitted in error by a staff member".

BOB MARSHALL-ANDREWS

Claim:

The Medway MP claimed £118,000 for expenses at his second home, including stereo equipment, redecoration and a pair of Kenyan carpets, the Daily Telegraph reported. In 2006 he claimed £750 for a "multi-room audio system" and £830 for a DVD recorder and other electrical products.

Response: Mr Marshall-Andrews said the claims for his TV and DVD recorder were met from second home allowances "in error". They were used mainly for office purposes and should have been claimed as such, he told the paper. He added that all his other claims had been "within the spirit and letter of the law".

FABIAN HAMILTON

Claim:

The Leeds North East MP declared his mother's London home as his main residence, letting him claim thousands of pounds on improving his family home in Leeds, the Daily Telegraph said. He also overcharged by £2,850 in 2004 by claiming for full mortgage payments when he was entitled only to the interest, it added.

After being challenged by the Commons authorities, Mr Hamilton offset £1,950 of the overpayment by submitting receipts for furniture, while agreeing that £900 could be docked from his next month's claim to account for the rest.

Response: Mr Hamilton said he spent the majority of his time with his mother before her death, paying a "substantial" sum towards the upkeep of her house.

AUSTIN MITCHELL

Claim:

Expenses submitted submitted by the Grimsby MP included 67p for Ginger Crinkle biscuits, 68p for Branston pickle and a bottle of malt whisky costing £22.99. In 2007, Mr Mitchell also claimed £2,938 for interior redecoration of his second home and £1,200 for re-upholstering sofas. He also had a bill for "security shutters" at his London second home turned down.

Response: Mr Mitchell's wife, Linda McDougall, told the Daily Telegraph that she had submitted the claims for food on her husband's behalf, and admitted that she "made mistakes". The MP himself said it had been necessary to have his sofas re-upholstered hundreds of miles away in Yorkshire because "because everything is cheaper and better there" but offered to donate the coverings to the Telegraph's offices. He added that he had suffered a series of break-ins prior to fitting the shutters, but there had been none since.

HARRY COHEN

Claim:

The Leytonstone and Wanstead MP claimed thousands for the redecoration of his second home before selling it and charging taxpayers £12,000 for stamp duty and fees on a new property, the Daily Telegraph said.

Among other items he was reported to have claimed were £1,222 for new blinds and £5,232 for furniture. Mr Cohen also claimed £4.25 for baby wipes and £8.75 for men's shaving oil.

Response: Mr Cohen said the house had been very dilapidated as the previous owner had lived there since 1933. He had used a back bedroom as an office, but his wife had a stroke while the refurbishment was being planned. This made it necessary to leave the three-floor property. He has offered to refund the cost of the toiletries.

MIKE HALL

Claim:

The MP for Weaver Vale in Cheshire charged almost £15,000 in three years for his house in Kennington to be cleaned and for his clothes to be laundered and ironed.

Response: Mr Hall said his claims were "legitimate and reasonable" and reflected the cost of having to live and work in London.

LIZ BLACKMAN

Claim:

The ex-whip, who is MP for Erewash in Derbyshire, spent hundreds of pounds just prior to the end of the financial year to take her second home claim as near to the maximum as possible, the Daily Telegraph alleged. Last-minute items included a £199 DVD player, a £150 fax and a £99 rug.

Response: Ms Blackman told the newspaper that the household items for her rented London flat were purchased "with the full approval of the House authorities".

MARIA EAGLE

Claim:

The junior justice minister spent thousands on refurbishing a bathroom at one of her flats before "flipping" her second home designation to another property, the Sunday Telegraph said. Ms Eagle, MP for Liverpool Garston, was paid £3,500 in expenses towards the cost of the work.

Response: Ms Eagle told the newspaper that she had been "scrupulous" about sticking to the rules. She said she had been required to designate her London property as her main home when she became a minister in 2001. When this rule changed she switched the designation because she spent more time in Liverpool.

JOAN RYAN

Claim: The Enfield North MP - whose seat is a 40-minute drive from the Commons - claimed expenses for £4,500 of repairs at her constituency home before "flipping" her second home to another south London property, the Daily Telegraph said.

Response: Ms Ryan, a former junior Home Office minister, told the paper that the rules had required her to register her flat as her main home when she was in government because it was closest. But after she was dismissed from her role as Cyprus envoy, she switched it to the Enfield property as she spent more time there.

JOHN AUSTIN

Claim: The MP for Erith and Thamesmead claimed more than £10,000 for the redecoration of his London flat, which was just 11 miles from his main home, before selling it for a £30,000 profit, the Daily Telegraph reported. After buying a new property, he claimed £10,000 in stamp duty and other expenses incurred in the move and a further £15,000 for a new bathroom, kitchen, carpets, and appliances.

Response: Mr Austin said the report was "inaccurate and misleading" and said he was seeking legal advice.

TOMMY MCAVOY

Claim: The Deputy Chief Whip and Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West received £86,565 in second home expenses for his Westminster flat between 2004 and 2008. Most of these claims were mortgage interest payments of £1,000 a month, council tax and ground rent payments.

Response: Mr McAvoy has not responded to the report.

IAN LUCAS

Claim: Mr Lucas - MP for Wrexham and a government whip - claimed approximately £1,000 a month for mortgage interest payments on a London flat, which he sold for a £45,000 profit, the Daily Telegraph said. Taxpayers were then billed £6,000 for sale fees. Mr Lucas then claimed almost £4,000 for staying in hotels before buying a new flat and claiming for stamp duty, purchasing fees, furniture and mortgage interest payments. He also spent £550 on a "hip hop" bed and extra-firm mattress, and £838 on a sofa bed.

Response: The MP said he been "scrupulous" in adhering to the rules, adding that he was "confident that I have achieved the appropriate balance between seeking the support I need to perform my duties as MP for Wrexham, and responsible use of the allowances available to me".

HELEN JONES

Claim: Ms Jones, an assistant government whip, claimed £87,647 on her London flat between 2004 and 2008, most of which was made up of mortgage interest payments.

Response: The Warrington MP told the Liverpool Daily Post: "The fees office has said there is nothing in my expenses that they are concerned about."

HELEN GOODMAN

Claim: Ms Goodman claimed for a week's stay in a holiday cottage in her Bishop Auckland constituency over a bank holiday, the Daily Telegraph said.

It reported that she submitted a £519.31 claim to the fees office for the cottage in Romaldkirk, Teesdale, between 27 August and 3 September 2005.

Response: The MP - a government whip - told the BBC that she has a large, rural constituency and that before she had a house there she stayed in hotels or rented. During the summer 2005 recess, she wanted to work in the constituency for 10 days and it was cheaper to rent a cottage with her family than stay in a hotel. She worked every day of her stay and has the documentation to prove it, she added.

KHALID MAHMOOD

Claim: After splitting up with his wife, Mr Mahmood checked into a five-star London hotel with his then-girlfriend at taxpayers' expense.

The Daily Telegraph said the Birmingham Perry Barr MP used the Bentley in Kensington for nine nights over a four-week period in 2004 at a cost of £1,350.

He spent a further five nights there in 2008, claiming £1,225.

Response: Mr Mahmood said he had got the most deal possible for the taxpayer. "I tried looking for other places and that was the best I could get," he told the Daily Telegraph. Mr Mahmood, who gave up his rented London flat in December 2008, said using hotels was cheaper than paying for properties that were unoccupied for much of the year.

MARK TODD

Claim:

The MP for South Derbyshire claimed £24,877 in expenses to refurbish his second home in London. Kitchen units, lighting, bathroom items, carpets, tiles leather chairs and a marble table were all among the goods for which he claimed.

Response: Mr Todd - who in 2007 announced his intention to stand down at the next election - said he would refund the fees office for an amount reflecting the items' depreciation when he retires.

MICHAEL CLAPHAM

Claim: Mr Clapham tried to claim £210 for a pair of glasses for his wife, Yvonne, who he employs as his office assistant, the Daily Telegraph said. But the fees office reduced his payment to £50, telling the Barnsley West & Penistone MP this was the maximum allowable for glasses.

He also claimed £64 for dinner services and £19.97 for an iron.

Response: Mr Clapham has not yet commented on the report.

SIR PETER SOULSBY

Claim: The Leicester South MP claimed for bailiffs' fees after the rent on his constituency office fell into arrears. But the fees office said he was not liable for the £472.59 bill and refunded his claim.

Response: Sir Peter told the paper that the arrears were "entirely the fees office's fault" after they failed to process a bill.

GEORGE LAXTON

Claim: The Derby North MP claimed £1,049 for a flat screen TV and £1,456 for a double bed in his London second home.

Response: Mr Laxton told the Telegraph that he "didn't really particularly have the time to run around and get deals on a TV or beds".

QUENTIN DAVIES

Claim: Mr Davies, who defected from the Conservatives to Labour, spent more than £10,000 repairing window frames at his 18th century mansion in Lincolnshire, the Sunday Telegraph reported. The defence minister - also MP for Grantham and Stamford - claimed close to the maximum allowable on second home expenses between 2004 and 2008.

Response: Mr Davies told the Telegraph that his expenses were "entirely legitimate" and that he had "absolutely nothing to hide". He insisted that the cost of upkeep on his home was considerably more than that for which he was reimbursed by the fees office.

ANDREW SMITH

Claim: The Oxford East MP claimed for renovations and repairs worth £30,000 on his south London home. Some of the invoices for the work, which included a new kitchen and bathroom, new windows and a hallway, were addressed to his constituency home.

Response: Mr Smith told the newspaper that he had kept to the spirit and letter of the rules, and that all goods claimed had been for the London property.

ANGELA SMITH

Claim:

Ms Smith, elected MP for Sheffield Hillsborough in 2005, claimed for four beds for her one-bedroom London flat, the Daily Telegraph said. The paper reported that she kitted out her flat in 2005 with items at a cost of £7,800 including a king-size bed and two futons. Then in 2006 she bought a £950 sofa bed and a chair worth £550 because she said the futons were broken. Ms Smith also claimed hundreds of pounds for tax advice from Dennis Bates, the husband of Labour MP Meg Munn.

Response: Ms Smith told the newspaper that she had not claimed for home contents in 2008/9 and would not do so again. She added: "Future replacement costs will be borne by myself." In a joint statement with three other MPs, she said that Mr Bates was was "eminently qualified" to give them advice, having worked for the Inland Revenue for 12 years.

TOM LEVITT

Claim: The fees office rejected a £16.50 receipt submitted by Mr Levitt, the MP for High Peak, for the cost of a poppy wreath he laid during Remembrance Sunday commemorations. He was also asked to justify a £5,281 bill for renovations. This was granted, but the fees office refused to refund the full cost of fitting a bathroom at £8,013.77, the Daily Telegraph said. An examination of his previous mortgage interest payments by the fees office showed that he had over-claimed by £6,000, which he duly returned.

Response: Mr Levitt told the newspaper that the fees office was "quite right" to reject the poppy wreath claim. With regards to the bathroom, he said: ""The replacement was 'like for like' with the only 'enhancement' being a bathroom cupboard with a shaving mirror above the sink - there was not one there before. And labour costs in London are not cheap." He added: "As a former member of the Standards and Privileges Committee, my conscience is clear."

MEG MUNN

Claim: Ms Munn's husband Dennis Bates was paid over £5,000 to provide tax advice to at least five ministers, the Daily Telegraph said. Ms Munn, the MP for Sheffield Heeley and a former Foreign Office minister, employs Mr Bates as her parliamentary assistant at taxpayers' expense. Ms Munn published her expenses claims on her website, but blacked out the section which showed she had paid her husband for tax advice tax using her expenses.

Response: Ms Munn has not yet commented. But in a statement, four of the ministers who received advice from her husband said Mr Bates, who worked at the Inland Revenue for 12 years, was "eminently qualified" to make sure MPs were meeting their liabilities.

JIM KNIGHT

Claim: Mr Knight, the schools minister and MP for Dorset South, was one of several MPs who paid Dennis Bates, the husband of Labour MP Meg Munn, from their parliamentary allowances for tax advice, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Response: Mr Knight told the BBC that Mr Bates's services were cheaper than than those of the previous accountant he had used. In a joint statement with three other MPs, Mr Knight said that Mr Bates was was "eminently qualified" to give them advice, having worked for the Inland Revenue.

JOHN HEALEY

Claim: Mr Healey, the local government minister and MP for Wentworth in South Yorkshire, was one of several MPs who paid Dennis Bates, the husband of Labour MP Meg Munn, from their parliamentary allowances for tax advice, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Response: In a joint statement with three other MPs, Mr Healey said that Mr Bates was was "eminently qualified" to give them advice, having worked for the Inland Revenue for 12 years.

GILLIAN MERRON

Claim: Ms Merron, the foreign office minister and M for Lincoln, was one of several MPs who paid Dennis Bates, the husband of Labour MP Meg Munn, from their parliamentary allowances for tax advice, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Response: In a joint statement with three other MPs, Ms Merron said that Mr Bates was was "eminently qualified" to give them advice, having worked for the Inland Revenue for 12 years.

'MODEST' CLAIMANTS

Three cabinet members in particular are singled out for their "modest" claims under the second homes allowance by the Telegraph. Energy Secretary Ed Miliband had only put in claims for £6,300 a year in rent for his constituency home and for utility and council tax bills. Health Secretary Alan Johnson rented a "modest" property but claimed for food and some furniture. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn claimed only £147.78 for food from the allowance which allows MPs to claim up to about £24,000 a year.

Laura Moffat, the Labour backbencher whose Crawley seat is the most marginal in the country, was singled out for praise by the Daily Telegraph. She gave up her flat overlooking the Thames for a camp bed in her office because she did not feel comfortable charging taxpayers for her rent.

Chris Mullin, MP for Sunderland South, gets by with a black and white TV. He claimed the reduced £45 licence fee on his second homes allowance.

Birkinhead MP and possible candidate for the Speaker's chair Frank Field claimed just £9,573 for his constituency home.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/8039273.stm

Published: 2009/05/26 17:48:00 GMT

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