Second top Tory MEP quits after expenses allegations
A Tory MEP who paid his wife and daughter's company £758,000 in parliamentary expenses has been dropped as the party's chief whip in the European Parliament. Den Dover, who said it was within the rules to pay the family company for secretarial and support work between 2001 and 2007, was replaced the day after the Tories' former leader in Brussels, Giles Chichester, quit after breaking rules on expenses. Yesterday David Cameron, the Conservative leader, moved to quell the row over expenses, ordering that all the party's MEPs should publish a compete breakdown of their claims.
He dispatched his chief anti-sleaze official, Hugh Thomas, to Brussels to enforce new party rules on expenses to make sure MEPs meet the "highest possible standards with accountability and transparency".
Mr Dover, who has been an MEP for the North-west since 1999, insisted he had broken no rules by using his European Parliament allowances to pay the money to a family company run by his wife, Kathleen, and daughter Amanda.
He strongly defended the arrangement under which he paid the firm MP Holdings Ltd around £100,000 a year from his European Parliament allowances and said the row over expenses was not linked to his departure as Tory chief whip.
On Thursday, Mr Chichester resigned as leader of the Conservative group in the European Parliament after admitting breaking parliamentary rules by channelling £445,000 through a family firm of which he is a paid director.
Yesterday the party's acting leader in Brussels, Philip Bushill-Matthews, replaced Mr Dover with Richard Ashworth, although party officials said it was unrelated to controversy over Mr Dover's expenses.
A Tory spokesman said the post of chief whip automatically lapsed with the change of leader, adding: "Some things are not as dramatic as they appear. This is just a quickfire change of job."
Company accounts show that MP Holdings, based at Mr Dover's home in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was paid £125,102 last year and paid £60,000 to its directors. It recorded a retained profit of £10,240.
Mr Dover, who declared the company and his family's directorships in his register of interests, said his wife was paid between £30,000 and £40,000 while his daughter was paid between £20,000 and £30,000 as a part-time assistant.
He said the firm has paid for the two women to run two company BMWs, although Mr Dover insisted that the cars were "years and years old" and were essential for them to carry out official business.
Mr Dover said the company paid rent for the use of his British homes as offices and spent nearly £22,500 in 2001 and 2002 for repairs on his homes in Hertfordshire and Chorley, Lancashire. Mr Dover said he had claimed a proportion of the money to cover the use of his Chorley home as a constituency office.
He insisted that all the arrangements had been audited and were within European rules. He said: "I believe it is incumbent upon all members of the European Parliament and all members of Parliament to be fully accountable and answer any questions from the media, from the parliament, from wherever, and be confident what they do is right and proper within the regulations. The cost has to be incurred. The work has to be done."
Mr Cameron said: "I have said very clearly that MEPs, like MPs, must meet the highest possible standards with accountability and transparency." He added: "Anyone who flies under the Conservative banner carries a wider responsibility to the reputation of the party."
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, is working on a new code to come into force next year to ensure that his MEPs also publish details of their claims. But Gary Titley, the leader of the Labour group in the European Parliament, said expenses details should not be published.
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband: Inside North Korea with the Pyongyang marathon winner
Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 4 Angus Steakhouse: How does tourist staple continue to thrive in today's gourmet market?
- 5 Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...