'MPs housing rules must be made stricter'

First published in News

OXFORDSHIRE MPs have called for the rules on housing expenses to be tightened after it was revealed 27 MPs let out their homes in London and claim for another.

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said it was “wrong” for MPs to rent out a property in the capital and claim up to £20,000 for another, “even though it appears to be within the rules”.

He said: “I think the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority should tighten up the rules on this.

“My own position is that I have a mid-terrace house on the Ethelred estate in Lambeth on a mortgage.

“Under the new rules, I no longer receive public funding towards the mortgage interest. As I do not claim any accommodation expenses, I am eligible for an allowance called the London Area Living Payment.

“I have not rented out my London property in the past, but am considering doing so in the future when I am not using it, during periods when Parliament is not in session.”

Oxford West and Abingdon’s Tory MP Nicola Blackwood said: “It is vital the public are confident in the expenses system. At the same time, I don’t think publishing information that would identify the location of MPs homes is responsible.”

Henley MP John Howell said he didn’t own a second home in London, while Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry said the issue should be dealt with by IPSA.

Witney MP and Prime Minister David Cameron made no claim.

Wantage MP Ed Vaizey was unavailable to comment.

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