Labour MP Chris Bryant among MPs named over second home expenses
Labour’s shadow arts minister Chris Bryant is among a number of MPs who claimed expenses to stay in London, while owning a property in the capital.
An investigation by Channel 4 found that 46 parliamentarians – including 25 Conservatives, four Lib Dems and 14 Labour MPs – had charged the taxpayer for rent or hotels to stay in London, while also owning a house there.
The investigators allege that when MPs were banned from claiming for mortgages after the expenses scandal, many switched to letting out their existing properties and claiming expenses for rent instead.
Mr Bryant apparently can’t afford any trousers
Gay politician Chris Bryant – who is the MP for the Rhondda – claimed expenses of £35,350 from 2012-2014 to rent a flat in London – despite already owning a penthouse in the city.
Mr Bryant previously bought a two-bedroom apartment in 2005, and initially claimed expenses for the mortgage – but that property is now being rented out, after expenses for second home mortgages were banned.
According to the broadcaster, across all 46 MPs the loophole is thought to have cost the taxpayer up to £1.2 million since 2012.
Sir Alistair Graham, the former chair of the Committee for Standards in Public Life, told Channel 4: “It’s not always just about exactly what the rules say.
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“It is about you taking personal responsibility that public funds are used in a proper and appropriate way that your constituents would be comfortable with.
“I’m sure we will hear all sorts of sob stories about why it’s justifiable to do what they’ve done.
“But they must know in their heart of hearts that the public will see this as MPs on the make.”
When named during a separate expenses scandal about his constituency home in 2009, Mr Bryant said the reason he ‘flipped’ his house was to escape homophobic thugs who daubed lewd messages on his property.
Mr Bryant did not return a request for comment.
We would have contacted him on Twitter, but he appears to have blocked PinkNews.