Defence minister Quentin Davies today dismissed the furore over his expense claim for a bell-tower on his constituency home as "a joke".
Mr Davies said he had not done "anything remotely wrong" in submitting a £20,000 invoice for work to his roof, including repairs to the bell-tower, and insisted his work had not been affected "in the slightest degree".
The Grantham and Stamford MP, who defected from the Tories, insisted that he had never intended to claim the full amount detailed on the invoice, only legitimate expenses for repairing his roof.
Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Davies was asked whether his work as defence procurement minister had been hampered because of the risk that "people spend a lot of their time laughing at you or your house".
He responded: "Of course it hasn't. It has resulted in a number of jokes in the House of Commons, which is fine.
"There is always an enormous amount of banter in the House of Commons. It doesn't in any way cut across serious business being conducted as well. That is the way politics works and it's a sensible, civilised way for politics to work."
Mr Davies said he had "never charged in my expenses and my allowances for anything that wasn't absolutely, totally legitimate", though he accepted that it might have been wiser to ask for separate invoices for the work on the roof and bell-tower.
He said he only charged around a quarter of the total bill to MPs' allowances, "because I recognise that my house is more expensive than most people's houses".
"What I charged was not only within the limit, but it was entirely for a legitimate purpose, unlike David Cameron's wisteria," he said. "There is no question at all that house repairs have always been classically acceptable, so there is no problem there.
"It is all a joke and everybody knows I haven't done anything remotely wrong."
Asked if he considered standing down as a minister when the allowance claim was revealed earlier this month, Mr Davies replied: "You must be absolutely joking. There's absolutely nothing remotely that I have done wrong and nobody has ever suggested I have.
"This whole thing is a joke."Reuse content