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Expenses spotlight on Sir George
THE expenses spotlight has been turned on North West Hampshire MP Sir George Young.
Sir George, a front-runner to replace House of Commons speaker Michael Martin, claimed £127,159 in second home allowance for a flat within walking distance of Westminster that he bought for £397,000 in 2005, the Daily Telegraph claimed.
The newspaper said he also claimed full council tax - £1,146 in the 2008/09 financial year - for the band G property even though he was eligible for a discount because it was his second home.
His other claims included a £699 washer, a £449 dishwasher - these were reduced to £500 and £375 respectively by the Fees Office - and £5 a week for food, it reported.
Sir George, a 67-year-old baronet who became an MP in 1974 and has represented North West Hampshire since 1997, has published his expenses on his website since 2006/07. On Friday, he also posted his reply to the Telegraph on the site.
The MP stated he paid the full rate of council tax because he "didn't know about the discount" and, "claimed what I paid".
He said the machines he claimed for were in the flat he bought and "were replaced with like-for-like items from John Lewis when they were beyond repair".
Sir George's odds on becoming speaker had drifted from 7-2 favourite last Wednesday to 6-1 third favourite with bookmaker William Hill by Friday lunchtime.