Minister put in expenses claim for bell tower

Click to follow

A defence minister submitted a receipt for £20,700 of work to his bell tower with his claim for taxpayer-funded second-home allowances, it was revealed today.

The paperwork submitted by Quentin Davies, a former Tory MP who defected to Labour, included an invoice for "Bell tower and lead gutter" from a specialist firm.

Mr Davies wrote to the Commons authorities noting that the "exceptional and very high (though very essential)" repair bill would take him over the annual limit.

In the interests of transparency, the Grantham and Stamford MP said, it would be best if he submitted all the bills and let officials work out how much he could be repaid.

They worked that out to be £5,376.

But on 18 May, as the Westminster expenses scandal raged, Mr Davies sent a second letter insisting that he had never wanted the taxpayer to pay for the bell tower work.

The invoice included covered a £10,330 roofing repair "together with a quite separate job (to the bell tower) for which I emphatically was not seeking any reimbursement", he wrote.