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MP reveals expenses ahead of schedule
AN MP whose expenses have come under close scrutiny in recent weeks has released details of his latest claims three months before he needed to.
North East Hampshire MP James Arbuthnot’s claims for the years 2004 to 2008 have already been revealed and now the MP has published an account of his expenses from April 2008 to April 2009.
Details of second home allowance claims and receipts for 2008/09 show he was paid the maximum allowable £24,006 after submitting claims for £25,351.
In an accompanying statement, Mr Arbuthnot said: “My constituents expect transparency and I fully support that.”
He said he had opened up his books earlier than required by the House of Commons “to demonstrate my clear commitment to getting everything out in the open”.
The claims made by the senior Conservative MP, whose constituency covers Hook, Hartley Wintney and Odiham, include the £2,749 for tree surgery, highlighted by the Daily Telegraph in May.
Many receipts appear to be linked to the £2million home in Stratfield Mortimer that the Telegraph reported Mr Arbuthnot bought without a mortgage two years ago.
- £1,871 to “renew wood and paint summer house”
- £782 and £950 for roofing work
- £1,978 to put slates on roof and fix new gutter and downpipe
- £1,165 to buy and spread 13 tons of shingle over drive, and fix a games room window and a drain cover
- £1,232 and £679 for “fencing around trees in paddock”, opening up two fireplaces, repairing shutters and replacing a windowsill.
In total, the MP submitted claims totalling £14,712 for building repairs and maintenance, but £3,758 was withheld by the fees office.
The remainder of the £25,251 Mr Arbuthnot claimed came from insurance, £631; council tax and utilities, £4,231; cleaning, gardening, maintenance, security, housekeeper, £6,630; and tree safety, £2,749.
In his statement, Mr Arbuthnot promised to regain the trust of constituents, said he had repaid nearly £11,000 and was no longer claiming the second homes allowance.