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.”

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 18:02
The chair appears to move of its own accord - or perhaps there is a ghostly explanation?

The spooky goings on apparently took place just hours after a psychic medium took to the stage in Romford. Coincidence? Almost certainly...

Read more
Yesterday, 14:28
People enjoy the Royal Victoria beach as temperatures reaches 28C in London.

This weekend saw London’s biggest manmade beach open at the Royal Victoria Dock in Canning Town.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:50
Nightcapp was born when Graham's friends got fed up with him waking them up late at night for recommendations for bars [Image courtesy of Nightcapp]

It’s surprising how much it happens in this global city: last orders comes before you’re ready for it, and you’re left with the choice of finding a 24-hour off-license or getting the nightbus whilst disconcertingly sober.

Read more

TOP Stories

Yesterday, 18:02
The chair appears to move of its own accord - or perhaps there is a ghostly explanation?

The spooky goings on apparently took place just hours after a psychic medium took to the stage in Romford. Coincidence? Almost certainly...

Yesterday, 14:28
People enjoy the Royal Victoria beach as temperatures reaches 28C in London.

This weekend saw London’s biggest manmade beach open at the Royal Victoria Dock in Canning Town.

Yesterday, 13:50
Nightcapp was born when Graham's friends got fed up with him waking them up late at night for recommendations for bars [Image courtesy of Nightcapp]

It’s surprising how much it happens in this global city: last orders comes before you’re ready for it, and you’re left with the choice of finding a 24-hour off-license or getting the nightbus whilst disconcertingly sober.

Promotions

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the Zoe was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

London Bloggers

Thursday, July 24, 2014
London comedians are preparing for Edinburgh (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

During these sultry July afternoons and endless balmy evenings the nervous musings of young comedians in London drift to dreams of triumph on the Edinburgh stage.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man poduction came to an end on Sunday, July 6

If you’ve been wandering around bereft of purpose, a wet-eyed stare fixed on your blank face, then no doubt you too are as gutted as I am that The Drowned Man has finally come to an end.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
(Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

We’ve been called P.I.G.S.

Quizzes

The prize is glory (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It used to be Manhattan that was famous for its majestic skyline, but now our fair city is catching up. Do you know your Shard from your Heron Tower?

Read more
Test your London musical knowledge with our album quiz (Images via Getty)

Does your music knowledge stretch from The Rolling Stones to Rudimental, Spandau Ballet to Siouxsie and the Banshees? If so then test it out with our London bands quiz:

Read more
How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more