A senior Tory MP paid his daughter £15,000 from the taxpayer to rent her London property, despite already owning a flat just a short walk from Westminster, it was alleged last night.
Bill Cash, the MP for Stone, in Staffordshire, paid the money to his daughter, Laetitia, by designating her west London flat as his second home during 2004 and 2005. His daughter sold the flat shortly after at a £48,000 profit.
Miss Cash, 35, is an aspiring politician and is on David Cameron's "A list" of candidates hoping to find seats in the Commons at the next election. According to The Daily Telegraph, she owned the property in Notting Hill for less than 18 months, with the taxpayer handing her rent for more than a year of that period. Commons rules were tightened in 2006 to stop MPs renting properties from family members.
After leaving the flat, Mr Cash nominated two private members' clubs as his second home for three months. Last night, he said his claims had been within the rules. "I had a tenancy agreement with her for one year approved in advance with the Fees Office and I didn't claim anything with respect of the other property at all and I didn't charge rent for it either," he said. However, he suggested he would repay the money if ordered to do so by his party's scrutiny committee examining expenses claims.
Labour also faced fresh embarrassment after it emerged that one of its MPs had tried to claim £3,600 for a flat-screen television, DVD player and a digital radio. Nigel Griffiths, MP for Edinburgh South, insisted he needed to have Scottish radio and Scottish television. The Fees Office turned down the request.
He was also alleged to have claimed £9,250 to redecorate the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom in 2004. He said the claims were "not exceptional".