Conservative MP Peter Bone denies fraud allegations

The Wellingborough MP said he was 'totally innocent' of the allegations relating to his mother-in-law

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The Independent Online

A Tory MP has denied allegations of benefits fraud after his home was raided by police and he was subjected to three hours of questioning.

Wellingborough MP Peter Bone said he was questioned in relation to a long-running dispute with Northamptonshire County Council about the funding of residential care for his mother-in-law, Dorothy Sweeney, which is currently the subject of a civil court case.

The Times reported that questions were asked about concerns that the council was not given accurate information about Mrs Sweeney's assets before providing benefits totalling around £100,000.

Anyone with assets of more than £23,250 is expected to pay their own care home fees.

In a detailed statement on the Wellingborough Conservatives website, Mr Bone said his home in Northamptonshire was raided by police in March 2013 and that he and his wife were questioned about a complaint raised by the county council the following month.

He said that Mrs Bone had been in dispute with the council since 2009 about the funding of her mother's care needs and that in January 2013 a writ was issued claiming that she owed them money.

Despite being questioned by police almost a year ago, Mr Bone said there has still been "no resolution" to the case.

He said he had written to Northamptonshire's chief constable complaining about the force's failure to complete its investigations in a "speedy and appropriate manner", while Mrs Bone has applied to Northampton County Court to have the case struck out on the basis that there is no reasonable ground for bringing the claim.

Mr Bone said the “most hurtful” aspect of the case was the suggestion that he had “stolen” his mother-in-law’s money.

"It is of course a fact that we have spent, and continue to spend, our own money looking after Jennie’s mother," he said.

"A long time ago, we gave a commitment to Jennie’s mother to look after her, whatever the circumstances and whatever the cost. We have totally honoured that commitment."

Mr Bone added: "Ultimately, the issue at the heart of this dispute is very simple: either Jennie and I have looked after her mother properly, or we are devious, thieving, crooks.

"I know the answer to that question and based on all the evidence, which they have, they should know too that we are totally innocent."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said in an updated statement: "We have read the comments made by Peter Bone and contest many points he has made.

"Because of ongoing legal considerations we cannot comment on this matter any further."

Additional reporting by Press Association