Kelly's £72,000 expenses claims are queried

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Indy Politics

Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, was facing questions last night about a £72,000 expenses claim on her second home.

Ms Kelly has claimed £72,000 on her home over the past four years. But mortgage payments should have totalled only around £20,000 during that time.

Greg Hands, the Tory MP for Hammersmith and Fulham, asked what the cash was spent on: "There should be a full investigation into this apparent black hole - £72,000 over four years seems like a lot of money to claim from the taxpayer when there is such as a small mortgage."

When she bought the four-bedroom detached house in 2001 the minister borrowed £101,148. Interest payments for that sum should total around £5,000 a year. But by the end of next year, Ms Kelly could have claimed the entire £109,000 she paid for the house, according to the Mail on Sunday. Ms Kelly also has a home in London east end where she lives with her husband and four young children.

The Department for Education and Skills said the money claimed was "in strict accordance with rules set out by the Fees office".