Minister defends claiming expenses on London flat

20:12 18 November 2012

Helen Grant

Helen Grant's has defended her expenses claims. File picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

A Government equalities minister claims the maximum expenses for a second home in London despite living just 19 miles from the Commons, it has emerged.

Helen Grant lives in a £1.8 million home in Reigate, Surrey - outside her Maidstone constituency.

But she also rents a Thameside flat near the MI6 building in Vauxhall which is funded on expenses.

Mrs Grant is eligible for a second home allowance on Parliamentary expenses because her constituency is outside London and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) confirmed the MP’s claim was within the rules.

But the Reigate home in which Mrs Grant lives is not far enough from London for the constituency MP - Tory Crispin Blunt - to make similar expenses claims.

A spokesman for Mrs Grant said: “Mrs Grant’s constituency has been deemed by IPSA to be a non-London constituency and she is therefore fully entitled to use her rental accommodation allowance either in London or in the constituency.

“She has a base in her constituency at her mother’s property, where her son also lives, so she sees no need to rent a further property there.

“The focus of her time and responsibility has always been Maidstone and the Weald.”

The expense claims were uncovered in an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches, which is due to broadcast a film called MPs: Are They Still At It? tomorrow night.

A spokesman for IPSA said: “We set the rules up based on the constituency the MP represents. We provide support for one of those locations to help with renting a flat.

“Ultimately it comes down to the MP’s judgment about what they need to claim for.

“We don’t check to see what private assets an MP has.”

Mrs Grant’s London flat is supported by expense claims of £1,666.67 per month - the maximum allowed within the rules, which caps rental claims at £20,000 per year. Mrs Grant has filed claims for rent since March this year.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the MP appeared to have breached the spirit of the rules and called for them to be tightened to prevent other such cases.

“Helen Grant’s arrangements certainly appear to be against the spirit of the rules.

“The taxpayer-funded allowance for a second home is meant to be there for MPs living in a constituency home from which they cannot reasonably commute to Westminster on a daily basis.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Anything can happen on live TV – including one dog getting very frisky on This Morning.

Read more

Hollywood beckons for Roger Hargreaves’ much-loved creations.

Read more

Have you noticed lots of ladies with smudged lippie on social media lately? Find out why they’re deliberately committing a make-up faux pas.

Read more

Promoted content

Valentine's Day Afternoon Tea

London Hilton on Park Lane is inviting couples to celebrate this Valentines Day over a deliciously romantic afternoon tea at Podium Restaurant and Bar. Taking inspiration from the highly popular Confessions of a Chocoholic Afternoon Tea, London Hilton on Park Lane presents the ultimate romantic afternoon out with its Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea.

Established in 1987, Tucci is one of the North's premier stores for branded clothing, footwear and accessories.

Save up to 70% on designer brands for Men and Women, including G-Star, Diesel, French Connection, Firetrap and many more….our sale is now on.

Valentine's Day in London

If you’re struggling over what to buy for the special person in your life in your life, our Valentine’s Day in London section is here to help.

Have you noticed lots of ladies with smudged lippie on social media lately? Find out why they’re deliberately committing a make-up faux pas.

Emergency declared as blizzard is expected to dump up to 24 inches of snow.

With 100 days to go until the General Election we decided to give it a try.

Twitter is taking on WhatsApp and Instagram with new features to make the app more social.

TOP Stories

11:41
David Parry/PA Wire

Tube travellers were more than a little shocked this morning when met with a full-sized polar bear.

One of the men was found injured in Kensington Mall in west London in the early hours of Monday (Picture: Google)

An investigation has been launched by detectives after two men were discovered with stab wounds within yards of each other in Notting Hill yesterday morning.

Police said today if Arnis Zalkalns was still alive he would have been charged with Alice Gross' murder

Latvian builder Arnis Zalkalns would have been charged with murdering Hanwell schoolgirl Alice Gross had he still been alive today, police said.

London Bloggers

Monday, December 22, 2014
Around 25 per cent of the population self-identity as having no religion yet still enjoy the fun of Christmas (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

It’s Christmas time. We know this by the light-adorned streets, the mobility hazard posed by boxes of Quality Street, Roses and Celebrations in every supermarket’s entrance and, of course, the incessant radio-plays of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You.

Thursday, November 27, 2014
The main room at the Museum of Comedy (Pic: Steve Ullathorne)

This week I visited the Museum of Comedy located at the corner of Museum Street and Bloomsbury Way in the crypt under St George’s Church.

Thursday, November 27, 2014
Bird Lovegod

I genuinely and honestly have only a slight problem when it comes to buying domain names.