I have done nothing wrong, says expenses claim MP
Wednesday 17 June 2009
A Conservative MP who claimed more than £50,000 in taxpayer-funded expenses to rent a flat from his own company insisted today he had done nothing wrong.
Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South, claimed £1,500 a month to rent the flat in Pimlico, central London, for more than three years, reported the Daily Telegraph.
According to the newspaper, the Conservative made the claims whilst he appealed against a change in House of Commons rules banning MPs from renting properties from themselves or their companies.
Mr Binley has since moved to a different flat after the Speaker rejected his appeal in April.
But the 67-year-old has not had to repay the £57,000 he claimed in the three years it took to consider his appeal, the paper said.
Today the MP insisted he had done nothing wrong.
In a statement, Mr Binley said: "I am an MP from a working-class background who knows that most of his constituents don't earn much above the average wage and therefore treats taxpayers' money with the care it deserves.
"I did rent a flat for the reasons that I have stated from a company that I founded and am proud of.
"The rent charged included council tax, water rates, electricity, gas, and all the furnishings, white goods etc in the flat.
"In addition, I paid the cleaner, rightly and properly, from my own pocket.
"When the mortgage was taken out, it was totally cleared by the Fees Office and when the rules were changed which stated that I could not rent from a company that I had an interest in, I appealed that decision.
"I sadly lost that appeal, accepted the decision of the Speaker and found another flat which unfortunately costs the taxpayer more money because that is the going rate.
"Finally, I am proud of my record of controlling my expenses in the interest of the taxpayer as proved by the fact that I am ranked 378th in the expenses list and I will continue to act openly in that way."
According to the Telegraph, Mr Binley, who was elected to the House of Commons in May 2005, began claiming £1,500 a month for the flat in February 2006.
He is chairman of BCC Marketing Services, which bought the property just two months earlier for £345,000, the newspaper said.
Shortly after he started renting the flat, he was told the claims were not allowed but decided to appeal to the Speaker against the decision.
In the meantime, he was allowed to continue making the claims.
Mr Binley's insistence that he has done nothing wrong comes as an inquiry into how to clean up MPs' expenses prepares to starting hearing evidence tomorrow.
Yesterday, the scandal claimed yet another victim after a Labour MP accused of submitting an improper bill for the wiring of his flat was deselected by the party's "star chamber" endorsements panel.
Jim Devine, the MP for Livingston, was told that he had been barred from standing as a Labour candidate at the next general election.
Mr Devine - who denies any wrongdoing - was alleged to have submitted a claim for £2,157 for rewiring his London flat based on a receipt bearing a bogus VAT number and the name of a non-existent firm.
He also faced questions over a £2,326 claim for shelving work said to have been carried out by the landlord of his local pub.
Meanwhile, Communities minister Shahid Malik's expenses were back in the spotlight as it emerged he faces another probe into his use of Commons allowances.
Parliamentary standards commissioner John Lyon accepted a complaint about the Dewsbury MP's accommodation and office costs.
Mr Malik was cleared of breaching the ministerial code last week, after allegations that he was paying below market rates.
Earlier, Conservative Ian Taylor announced his intention not to stand at the next general election.
The Esher and Walton MP became embroiled in the expenses controversy when the Daily Telegraph revealed he had a second home in London even though his main home is in the capital's commuter belt.
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...