Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has repaid £3,000.72 in travel expenses after accepting that the claims were “wrongfully made and should not have been allowed”.
Ms Dorries told investigators at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) that the claims for journeys between Westminster and her Mid Bedfordshire constituency were made for family reasons and not in pursuit of her parliamentary duties, meaning they were not allowed under the scheme.
But further complaints about expense claims for utility bills were dismissed by Ipsa after compliance officer Peter Davis ruled it would be “disproportionate” to penalise the MP further after making “no finding” about how much time she spent at her London accommodation.
A preliminary report by the expenses watchdog was posted on the Ipsa website today.
An Ipsa spokesman said: “As part of the regular review of all MPs’ claims, Ipsa’s internal assurance function found that Nadine Dorries MP’s pattern of travel and accommodation claims were unusual, and were referred to the compliance officer for investigation.
“The compliance officer has found that claims made by Ms Dorries were outside the scheme, and that these claims should be repaid. Ms Dorries has subsequently repaid these claims.”
The report acknowledges Ms Dorries had indicated she will claim no expenses in future and notes no claims for travel have been made since March 2013.
In a statement posted on her website, Ms Dorries questioned why Ipsa had chosen to carry out an “expensive and time-consuming investigation into my expenses”.
And the MP, who was suspended from the Conservative Parliamentary Party after she appeared on TV’s I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, added: “I am sure it is just a coincidence that, as the pressure began to mount for my whip to be returned after three months of suspension, wham, I surprisingly had an investigation in process.”
Her statement said any overpayments were due to a “technical breach which was Ipsa’s fault”.