David Cameron's claims for mortgage interest on his second home will be examined by his own scrutiny panel in the same way as every other Tory MP's, he promised yesterday.
Questions have been raised about why the Conservative leader took out a taxpayer-funded mortgage on his second home at around the same time that he cleared the mortgage on his first home, which he could not claim for from parliamentary expenses.
Mr Cameron took on a £350,000 mortgage to buy a home in his Witney, Oxfordshire, constituency shortly after he was elected to the Commons in 2001. He reclaimed approximately £20,000 a year in interest payments.
He also sold his Kensington property for £1,150,000, making a profit of £935,000, having paid off the original £75,000 loan, and bought another London home. Asked yesterday whether he would be defending his expenses claim before the scrutiny panel he has set up to judge other Tory MPs, Mr Cameron said: "Of course. The scrutiny panel looks at every single Conservative MP."
But he denied suggestions that he could have saved the taxpayer thousands of pounds if he had reduced the amount he borrowed to buy his second home instead of paying off the Kensington mortgage.
He said the claims he submitted were actually less than he was paying in mortgage interest, and even if he had got interest payments down below the permitted maximum, he would then have been entitled to claim other costs of running his Witney home.
"I don't think what is being said that somehow I could have reduced the claim on the taxpayer, I don't think that's right," he told BBC1's Politics Show.