Tory claimed £57,000 to rent his own flat

Millionaire MP paid expenses to rent a property from a company he owned
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Indy Politics

A millionaire Conservative MP was accused last night of breaking Commons rules by claiming more than £50,000 in taxpayer-funded expenses to rent a flat from his own company.

Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South, claimed £1,500 a month to rent the flat for more than three years, even though MPs are not allowed to rent properties from themselves or their companies. Although the payments were flagged up by parliamentary officials in April 2006, they were not stopped until this April.

The Daily Telegraph, which has obtained the expenses claimed by all 646 MPs, reports today that Mr Binley was allowed to continue claiming after appealing to the Commons Speaker, Michael Martin. Mr Binley has not had to repay the £57,000 he received while the Speaker considered his case. The disclosure will cast further doubts over the policing of the expenses system by the Commons, which is expected to publish details of each MP's claims tomorrow.

Mr Binley's flat in Pimlico, near Parliament, is owned by a company called BCC Marketing. He is its chairman and founder and currently owns 20 per cent of its shares, while his wife Jacqueline holds a further 20 per cent.

David Cameron will now consider whether to discipline Mr Binley, who defended his decision to pay rent to BCC Marketing. He said: "When the mortgage was taken out, it was totally cleared by the [Commons] Fees Office, and when the rules were changed which stated that I could not rent from a company that I had an interest in, I appealed that decision. I sadly lost that appeal, accepted the decision and found another flat which unfortunately costs the taxpayer more."