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13 October 2009

Cameron warns Tory MPs: Pay back expenses or stand down

Tory leader says that MPs who fail to repay expenses will be banned from standing for the party

By Staff Blogger

David Cameron has warned that Conservative MPs who refuse to pay back expenses will be banned from standing for the party again..

“In the end, if people are asked to pay back money and they don’t pay it back, in my view they can’t … stand as Conservative MPs,” he told GMTV.

The Conservative leader made his pledge amid growing anger amongst MPs over the retrospective rules imposed by Sir Thomas Legg. Legg, a senior civil servant, was asked to review all expenses claims for the last five years after the scandal began in May. Many MPs are furious that they have been ordered to repay claims that were originally approved by the Commons authorities.

Cameron has been asked to provide copies of mortgage interest payments for 2006, after he overclaimed for £218.91. He repaid the sum earlier this year.

He said: “My letter didn’t raise any new issues, it asked for one mortgage statement. I’m not expecting to have to pay back anything else, but that’s up to Sir Thomas Legg.”

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At a party meeting last night, Gordon Brown urged Labour backbenchers to follow his example and accept Legg’s rulings. The Prime Minister was yesterday ordered by Legg to pay back £12,415.10 for the period 2004-09.

Brown will repay £10,716.10 for cleaning, after Legg ruled that the annual allowance should not exceed £2,000. He will also return £302.50 for gardening after Legg imposed a £1,000-a-year cap and £1,396 for decorating expenses that were mistakenly claimed for twice.

The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, has been ordered to repay £910 of the £3,910 he claimed for gardening at his constituency home between 2006 and 2009.

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