'Secretly' resolved MP expenses cases revealed

Details of dozens of complaints against MPs that have been "secretly" resolved over recent years were finally published today.

One member quietly repaid £755 claimed on expenses for software that used astrology to diagnose medical conditions, while another handed back costs for maintaining an Aga-style cooker at a house he had rented out.

Under the so-called "rectification" procedure, standards commissioner John Lyon has the power to fast-track investigations when the MP involved admits they have broken rules and he does not regard the matter as too serious.

However, the practice has come under fire because the allegations and his conclusions were not always made public - until now.

Mr Lyon has disclosed that 16 cases were rectified in 2008/9, 14 in 2009/10 and 10 so far in 2010/11.

They include that of Tory MP for Bosworth David Tredinnick, who was subject to a complaint last year that he had spent £755.33 of taxpayers' money on a computer programme providing "interpretations and analyses of a person's condition based on astrology".

Mr Tredinnick argued that the outlay on "Solarfire V" was justified as he had a long-standing interest in astrology and complementary medicine that had been expressed in parliament.

"Solarfire V provides interpretation in both Western and Indian astrology and it is easy to switch between the two systems," he wrote in a letter to the commissioner. "As a result I now have a better understanding of the Indian system of Medicine, Ayurvedic, its definitions of personalities as being Vata or Airy, Kapha or Earthy or Pitta--Fiery types and how these personalities are reflected in Rashi and Navamsha Indian astrological readings.

"I also have a better understanding of how Culpepper linked plants to planets and signs and can check their characteristics using the Western programme in Solarfire V.

"All this information is helpful in discussions and debates in my work in Parliament. I have not yet made a major speech on the subject in the House because of prejudice but one day I will. In discussions I use this information frequently."

But after a lengthy exchange of correspondence with the commissioner, Mr Tredinnick agreed to repay the cash, sparing him a full-blown probe.

Ex-Tory MP for Totnes Anthony Steen - who accused people of being "jealous" of his substantial expenses-funded house in Devon after being criticised for excessive claims last year - was also on the list.

He returned a total of £561, which included a bill for maintenance on a Rayburn range cooker in the rented-out coach house that had been "inadvertently" submitted.

Many of the rectified complaints relate to episodes where MPs have used parliamentary stationery to contact constituents for political purposes, and they often involve small sums of money.

Other cases include:

* Ex-Labour MP Janet Anderson overclaimed petty cash totalling £5,700 between 2005 and 2008, because she did not realise she was not allowed to claim for Westminster office and constituency office;

* Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman handing back £13.20 for prepaid House of Commons envelopes and stationery to send letters to non-constituents;

* Sadiq Khan, now shadow justice secretary, repaying £173 for letters sent to constituents just before the general election campaign began;

* Boris Johnson, now Tory mayor of London, failing to register 33 shares worth £1 each in Finland Station Ltd. The then Henley MP apologised and said he was not "aware that his shares had any pecuniary value";

* Former Lib Dem MP Willie Rennie repaid £2,647 in May this year that he overclaimed for office space and a printing machine that had been shared with his local party.

The commissioner also disclosed for the first time details of his current investigations.

Lib Dem David Laws is still being investigated over the accommodation claims that sparked his resignation as chief secretary to the Treasury.

Ex-Labour MPs Anthony Wright and Margaret Moran are both being probed over expenses claims - with the latter also subject to a police inquiry on separate allowances allegations.

Labour's Andy Slaughter and Simon Danczuk are being examined over use of pre-paid envelopes, and Alison Seabeck over declaration of interests.

Four of Mr Lyon's inquiries into expenses allegations have been suspended while criminal proceedings are considered. They relate to ex-Labour MPs Jim Devine, David Chaytor, and Elliot Morley - who have been charged - and serving Labour MP Denis MacShane - who has not.

A probe into ex-Tory MP David Wilshire's use of allowances has been put on hold because he is unwell.

The commissioner has investigated and rejected 30 complaints against MPs since 2008/09.

Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Heskey's aim has improved since the end of his English football career

Long after his career in English football has ended, Emile Heskey's impotency in front of goal remains an object of ridicule.

Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam