Tory’s partner wanted to ‘buy lots of booze’ with expenses money

A Conservative MP’s partner told Commons officials she was planning to “buy lots of booze” with public money, it was revealed last night.

Andrew Turner, the MP for the Isle of Wight, also used office expenses to claim £6 for wrapping paper on Christmas Eve and to fund “life coaching” sessions for an employee.

In an email in 2005, Carole Dennett, who is also Mr Turner’s parliamentary assistant, told the fees office she was looking forward to his expenses claims being settled. She explained: “I shall be able to spend it on lots of booze so that the forthcoming election goes in an alcoholic blur.”

Mr Turner said last night: “In the cold light of day this could be judged as inappropriate, but it was a private joke between two people in regular contact.”

He acknowledged the wrapping paper claim was a mistake, but defended the £160 bill for life coaching, arguing it was to help a member of staff whose emotional problems were affecting their work.

The Daily Telegraph today also reports that Alan Meale, a Labour MP, claimed more than £13,000 for his garden in four years, buying a new storage building, fences and gates and bark chippings. Eddie McGrady, an SDLP MP, reportedly claimed more than £17,000 for stays at leading London hotels.