In an interview with PinkNews.co.uk, Ben Bradshaw, the openly gay Health Minister has accused the Daily Telegraph of homophobia in the way it published his expenses claims.
Bradshaw entered into a civil partnership with Neal Dalgleish, a BBC journalist, in 2006. Between October 2006 and 31st March 2007, Bradshaw claimed around £1,080 per month in mortgage interest payments under the Additional Costs Alllowance. This was the total interest payment for the property despite the fact that he jointly owned the home with his civil partner.
Mr Bradshaw told PinkNews.co.uk: “I have clearly been singled out because my partner is a man. My circumstances are the same as David Cameron yet he was described as ‘Mr Clean’. In fact, I claimed less than him.
“It is very interesting that gay Tory MPs have also been smeared. Nick Herbert is in similar circumstances to Cameron but he has also been smeared.
“They have also referred to my partner as my boyfriend – did they refer to Samantha Cameron as David Cameron’s girlfriend? All partners have shared income rights.
“The implication is gay people in civil partnerships are not equal.
“I was able to claim full costs before my civil partnership but took an ethical decision not to. I only began claiming them after my partnership.
When asked if he was taking further action, Bradshaw said he had not considered it.
He added: “There is a clear strand of homophobia all the way through [the Telegraph's coverage]. It’s disgraceful.”
The MP, who is both Health Minister and Minister for South West England, switched the designation of his second home to a property he shares with Dalgleish in London.
The couple both own half of the property and have done since 1996.
Between October 2006 and 31st March 2007, Bradshaw claimed around £1,080 per month in mortgage interest payments under the Additional Costs Alllowance.
Rules state that “if you take out a joint mortgage with someone who is not your spouse or partner you must contact DFA [Department for Finance and Administration] to arrange to discuss the amount of any such mortgage which can be claimed from ACA. This will normally be based on the actual percentage of the mortgage for which you are responsible.”
“Since his civil partnership he has claimed the full amount,” his spokesman said. “All of his claims have been approved by the Fees Office as within the parliamentary rules.