Andy Burnham claims £17,000 a year in rent for London flat – despite owning another that's walking distance from Westminster

There is no suggestion the Labour leadership hopeful broke any rules

Andy Burnham has been claiming more than £17,000 a year in expenses to rent a flat in London despite owning another property a short walk from Westminster.

The Labour leadership favourite has received £ 1,449.98 a month since July 2012 to rent a flat close to the property he already owns in Kennington, southeast London.

Mr Burnham moved from his original flat, for which he claimed expenses, just before parliamentary rules changed in August 2012, banning MPs from claiming mortgage interest on second homes.

He now receives rental income from the property he owns, while receiving taxpayers’ money to cover the cost of his rented flat.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the shadow health secretary, but Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, told the Sunday Times the politician’s arrangements were “wrong” and showed a “lack of judgement”.

A spokesman for the MP said: “Mr Burnham was forced into this arrangement by a change in the rules. He has received no public subsidy in respect of his flat and the rent he receives only covers his costs. If parliament changed the rules, he would return to his own flat. Any suggestion that he has made money with the help of the public purse is utterly false.”

Mr Burnham is currently odds-on favourite, at 8/11, to win the Labour leadership, but is facing tough competition from Liz Kendall who has become the second favourite to succeed Ed Miliband.

Former deputy prime minister, Lord Prescott, boosted Mr Burnham’s chances when he backed the politician who he claimed had “the common touch” on Sunday.

The next Labour leader will be announced on 12 September after votes from party MPs and members have cast their votes.

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