Expense-row MP 'flipped homes'

Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton has been caught up in the continuing controversy over Parliamentary expenses.

He had declared his mother’s house as his main residence while his family home’s mortgage, where his wife and children lived, was paid by the taxpayer, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Later, after spending considerable sums decorating the family home, Mr Hamilton “flipped” his designated home to a new flat in Maida Vale, London, which was also then decorated at the taxpayer’s expense.

The Jewish MP told the newspaper that he made a genuine mistake and that he had negotiated with the House of Commons’ fees office to reduce the debt by offsetting with receipts for furniture bought previously for the Leeds home.

The Telegraph said he had bought a boiler for £4,400 for his constituency home and spent £5,000 on a new kitchen for his London flat.

On his website, Mr Hamiltion gave a breakdown of his constituency expenses for 2007-8, including £23, 083, the maximum allowed under the rules, for second home costs. He described the money as “mortgage interest and upkeep costs on a flat in London for use whilst I am in Parliament”.

But the Telegraph said he did not mention the decoration, repairs and furnishings of the two properties as well as other items such as two televisions, a bed, new windows, wardrobes and a DVD player.

Mr Hamilton explained the claims to the Telegraph saying: “I spent the majority of my time in London with my mother before her death, paying a substantial sum of money from my own pocket for the upkeep of the house.

“After her death, I moved my main home to Yorkshire because that is where my wife and children were.

“I used local firms to buy the cheapest bathroom and kitchen installation.

“The mortgage claims were quite an accident. I didn’t realise I was claiming until the fees office pointed it out. It was an oversight on my part and I offered to pay it back.”

    Last updated: 4:34pm, August 17 2009