Kaufman blames 'obsessive disorder'

Veteran Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman yesterday blamed a self-diagnosed "obsessive compulsive disorder" for making bizarre and extravagant claims on the public purse including £8,865 for a 40in LCD Bang & Olufsen television.

Sir Gerald also said his condition led him to purchase a pair of Waterford Crystal grapefruit bowls for £220 on his parliamentary expenses.

Sir Gerald, 79, a former government minister, told the Manchester Evening News that his claim for the Bang & Olufsen TV was "daft", adding: "I'd self-diagnosed myself with obsessive compulsive disorder and I'd bought a new television set." Sir Gerald had already bought a similar TV without claiming for it. "Then I decided to have a bigger one," he said. "I thought to myself, 'Well, you can claim for a TV, so why not?'"

Sir Gerald said he needed two grapefruit bowls because one was for him and another "for any guests".

He said: "As part of my OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), I have the same breakfast when I'm at home both in London and Manchester every day," he said. "Half a grapefruit, a bowl of muesli with semi-skimmed milk and a cup of coffee with a Rich Tea biscuit. That's breakfast." A cleaner broke one dish, he said "so I got a replacement".

Sir Gerald also charged the taxpayer £225 for a rollerball pen and admitted when asked to explain his claims that they were "bizarre-sounding".