Demand for inquiry over minister's expenses claim for his parents' home
Conservatives attack MP over £60,000 in allowances
Tony McNulty, the Employment minister, is facing demands for an inquiry into his parliamentary expenses after he admitted claiming tens of thousands of pounds for the house where his parents live.
Conservatives said Mr McNulty's position was "indefensible" and demanded an investigation into his £60,000 expenses bill for the house in Harrow, north-west London. Mr McNulty insisted he had abided by parliamentary rules, and announced he had stopped claiming the money in January this year. But he called for an overhaul of regulations that allow outer-London MPs to recoup thousands of pounds a year for second homes in easy commuting distance of Westminster.
The Conservatives went on the attack after it emerged that Mr McNulty had claimed up to £12,400 a year since 2001-02 for his second home in his Harrow constituency – where his parents live – even though it is only 11 miles from Westminster. The row came just weeks after Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, faced similar outrage over her Redditch constituency home after naming her sister's house in south London as her main residence.
Conservative MP Greg Hands said: "He [Mr McNulty] admits that the arrangement looks odd and that he stopped it in January, but won't repay the £60,000 he took from taxpayers to fund it. He says that he uses the house for constituency work but his office is just round the corner. Now he says that MPs in the South-east shouldn't be claiming housing allowances, when he voted against a similar proposal less than a year ago. Once again, the position of one of Gordon Brown's ministers looks indefensible."
Yesterday Mr McNulty said he had stopped claiming the allowance in January as interest rates had fallen so far that he could meet his mortgage commitments from his MP's salary. But he defended his allowance claims for the property. He told Sky News: "I use it considerably. I work there at weekends in the constituency. I was probably spending one or two nights a weekend there early on when I was an MP.
"It probably is less now. But I think I can do my job more effectively by having that base in the constituency. I think I can do my ministerial job more effectively by having a place in London."
- 1 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 2 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 3 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 4 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
- 5 Watch eerie drone footage of destroyed building in Stalingrad
#JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
General election 2015: 'Nasty party' Ukip faces fresh questions over candidates on eve of vote
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party is the right choice for you
Ohio 'Shawshank Redemption' fugitive Frank Freshwater arrested after 56 years on the run
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General Election 2015: Sturgeon claims Scots 'appalled' by Ed Miliband's refusal to work with SNP
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...