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UK Politics

MPs who are quitting Commons

These are the MPs who have announced they are quitting the Commons since the expenses scandal engulfed Westminster last month.

* Michael Martin

The current Commons Speaker became the first in 300 years to be forced out after an extraordinary rebellion in the chamber from MPs critical of his handling of the expenses controversy.

The former sheet metal worker, who spent years blocking greater transparency and reforms of the system, spent more than £1,400 on chauffeurs in his Glasgow constituency.

He will relinquish his post, and the seat for Glasgow North East, on June 21.

* Sir Peter Viggers

The veteran Tory MP for Gosport has been mercilessly ridiculed for filing a £30,000 claim to cover a gardening bill which included a floating duck island for his pond.

He said he felt "ashamed" for his "ridiculous" error of judgment, adding that his ducks never liked the £1,645 feature anyway. He will stand down at the next election.

* Douglas Hogg

Otherwise known as Viscount Hailsham, the Sleaford and North Hykeham MP has also been widely mocked for claiming for the costs of dredging the moat around his country estate.

The Tory former agriculture minister agreed to pay back the £2,200 bill and said he was stepping aside for a new Conservative candidate at the next election.

He also claimed for piano tuning, stable repairs, and the salary for a housekeeper.

* Anthony Steen

The Conservative MP for Totnes said he would not stand for re-election after it was revealed he had spent £87,729 in four years towards the upkeep of his £1 million mansion.

Costs passed on to the public purse included tree surgery and a wrought iron fireplace, but Mr Steen said he did not know "what the fuss is about".

He said people were "jealous" of his "very, very large house", adding: "What right does the public have to interfere with my private life? None."

* Ben Chapman

The Wirral South MP was the first from the Labour benches to announce his retirement at the next election.

He was accused of overclaiming £15,000 from the taxpayer by claiming for mortgage interest he was no longer paying after clearing £295,000 of the loan.

* Ian McCartney

The former Labour chairman said he was quitting Parliament at the next election because of "health problems". He underwent heart surgery a few years ago.

His announcement came days after he disclosed that he paid back almost £15,000 worth of expenses claims last year and said he was "appalled" at a system which had risked the reputations of "dedicated public servants" like himself.

The Makerfield MP's claims had included an 18-piece dinner set, champagne flutes and wine glasses, a £700 dining table and chairs and two sofas worth £1,328.

* Andrew MacKay

David Cameron's former parliamentary aide announced he would not seek re-election for Bracknell the morning after his constituents shouted him down at a public meeting about his claims.

The Tory MP claimed second homes expenses on a property his wife, fellow MP Julie Kirkbride, declared as her main home.

The taxpayer had effectively been subsidising both of their properties.

* Sir Nicholas and Ann Winterton

The veteran Tory MPs are resigning at the next election, blaming the "hectic pace" of politics.

Their decision comes after it was revealed they claimed £120,000 in expenses to rent a flat from a family trust controlled by their children over six years. The arrangement was condemned as "indefensible" by Tory leader David Cameron.

In a letter to Mr Cameron announcing their decision to leave the Commons, Sir Nicholas, 71, and Lady Winterton, 68, did not mention the expenses issue.

* Margaret Moran

The Luton South MP announced she was standing down after days of public anger over claims of £22,500 for treating dry rot at her partner's home in Southampton, 100 miles from both her constituency and Westminster.

Ms Moran said the "understandable public anger" over MPs' expenses had caused her "great stress" and "seriously worsened my existing health problem".

She is one of the Labour MPs under investigation by the party's star chamber set up to scrutinise controversial expenses claims.

The MP has insisted she did nothing wrong and had been acting on incorrect advice given to her by the Commons Fees Office.

* Julie Kirkbride

The Bromsgrove MP succumbed to intense pressure over her expenses, following the resignation of her husband Andrew MacKay.

The Tory couple came under fire when it emerged Commons allowances had been used to simultaneously fund both their homes.

Ms Kirkbride was also criticised for employing her sister as a part-time secretary - even though she lived more than 120 miles from her constituency and 100 miles from Westminster.

And it was reported that the taxpayer part-funded a £50,000 extension at Ms Kirkbride's constituency flat so her brother could stay and help with childcare.

* Christopher Fraser

The South West Norfolk MP cited his wife's ongoing health problems in his decision to stand down at the next general election and said it was unconnected to the expenses row.

But his announcement came just days after the Daily Telegraph reported his claims of more than £1,800 for 215 trees and boundary fencing at his constituency home.

* Elliot Morley

Former agriculture minister Mr Morley announced he would be standing down in the wake of disclosures that he claimed £16,800 in taxpayer-funded allowances for interest on a mortgage he had already paid off.

He said the row had been "traumatic" for him while his family and his health had both "suffered".

Mr Morley was already suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party pending a sleaze watchdog investigation and a possible police inquiry.

He blamed the 18-month false claim, which he has repaid, on "sloppy accounting".

* Patricia Hewitt

Former health secretary Patricia Hewitt denied her decision was related to the row over MPs' expenses, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family and on her work on Indian issues.

The Leicester West MP's claims included £920 in legal fees when she moved out of a flat in her constituency before staying in hotels and then renting another flat in Leicester.

She also claimed for furniture, including £194 for blinds delivered to her London home, the paper reported.

"The truth is that after 13 years as an MP and 10 years in Government, I have not seen enough of my family," she said.

* David Chaytor

Labour's Bury North MP said he would not fight the next general election in the wake of revelations that he claimed almost £13,000 of expenses on a mortgage which did not exist.

The backbencher had already been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party pending a "star chamber" inquiry into his claims.

He said that, for the coming months, his "priority must be to explain my errors following allegations over the use of parliamentary allowances".

* Beverley Hughes

The Children's Minister announced she was stepping down as the MP for Stretford and Urmston for "personal reasons".

She insisted her decision had "nothing whatsoever" to do with the expenses row.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Ms Hughes rented a second home in London where she claimed £801.60 for re-upholstering furniture, £718 on a chair and £435 on curtains and for bedding.