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24 June 2010

Anthony Steen claimed £4,000 on spin after he was rocked by scandal

Tory grandee accused of not “getting it” failed to learn lessons of furore over MPs’ expenses.

By James Macintyre

Anthony Steen, one of the MPs at the heart of last year’s expenses scandal, subsequently paid almost £4,000 on “press and strategy” advice and claimed it back from the taxpayer.

The former Tory MP, who said he had behaved “impeccably” by claiming £90,000 on his sprawling country house, made two payments of £1,995.25 to “Peter Botting Ltd”, fresh details on the parliamentary website show.

Both payments were made on 27 August last year, several months after Steen brought a public relations disaster on himself by claiming that his exposure in the scandal had been motivated by envy over his large house.

“What right does the public have to interfere with my private life? None,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One.

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Peter Botting, the PR man hired to assist Steen, advertises his services on his website, which says:

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Already achievers in business or politics, my clients need to stand out.

I help them plan their strategy, write speeches and prepare them for pitches and presentations.

Communication without a strategy is just noise.

Perceptions are reality. How others see you DOES impact on your success. Fact. Deal with it. Change it. Fix it.

Steen stood down at the general election last month.