Thursday, 4 February 2010

Legg report weighs in with £1.2m repayments

Judgement day has arrived for MPs over the expenses scandal with the publication of the Legg Report.

The official confirmation of what MPs overclaimed on additional Costs Allowance and had to repay is contained in the huge report which is being torn asunder for detail all over the Westminster this morning.

We're just absorbing the detail of the latest chapter in the expenses scandal. Some of it is a reprint of what we already know but more than half of all MPs have had to repay something

The big Tory grandees are the hardest hit - five of them having to replay between £24,000 and £37,000 each. Barbara Follett, the London MP, leads the field in having to repay her personal security costs.
The largest sums ordered to be repaid by sitting MPs - after appeals are taken into account - were £42,458 by Barbara Follett (Lab, Stevenage), £36,909 by Bernard Jenkin (Con, North Essex), £31,193 by Andrew Mackay (Con, Bracknell), £29,398 by John Gummer (Con, Suffolk Coastal), £29,243 by Julie Kirkbride (Con, Bromsgrove) and £24,878 by Liam Fox (Con, Woodspring).
On first glance of the listings Scottish MPs come out with a relatively clean bill of health. Most of them, according to Legg, have “no issues”, which will only increase their anger that they will be tarred with the same brush as their pay-back colleauges.
Eric Joyce, the MP who usually tops the expenses league table, has had to pay back £8,602.56 of mortgage claims. But, oops, it looks like Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister is the biggest of the Scottish pay-back MPs £13,723 for cleaning costs and a little for garden maintenance and redecorating. Ironically Jim devine, who was banned from stadning again over the scandal, has "no issues" according to Legg.

The highlights so far:
Three MPs were ordered to repay more than £40,000, with Legg ordering the highest repayment of just under £65,000. But Sir Paul Kennedy reduced that. The highest repayment is £42,458 is Follett.

On top of that 56 MPs were ordered to repay between £40,000 and £5,000; 182 MPs were ordered to repay between £5,000 and £1,000; 149 MPs were ordered to repay between £1,000 and £100.

Legg is scathing of how MPs milked the system but the review cost £1.2m which is almost the same as MPs have been ordered to repay. It’s a self financing exercise. More later, including I hope, all the Scottish repayments.

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