More MPs are caught in expenses firing-line as the scandal deepens
A Jewish MP is to stand down at the next election after becoming embroiled in the expenses row and claiming the public was “jealous” of his country house.
Tory MP Anthony Steen announced his retirement after earlier claiming taxpayers should not be allowed to see MPs’ claims and insisting his behaviour had been “impeccable”.
The 69-year-old former barrister was elected to represent Totnes in 1983. Previously he represented Liverpool Wavertree for nine years.
While working as a volunteer at the Bernhard Baron Settlement in 1961, Mr Steen pioneered a scheme which saw Jewish teenagers befriend elderly people. It was the first step in years of work to recruit Jewish youngsters to volunteer work and prompted the JC to describe him as a “dark-haired dynamo from St John’s Wood”.
In 1977 he campaigned against the banning of Jewish Societies by student unions, calling the practice “sinister and deeply disturbing”.
After winning a libel action against a newspaper in 1994, he donated part of the proceeds to Torbay Synagogue.
In 2005, as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary group on Antisemitism, Mr Steen met then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during a visit to the country.
A second Jewish MP, Shadow Business Minister Jonathan Djanogly, has said he will reimburse around £25,000 of expenses claims to the Fees Office.
TheTelegraph revealed the MP had claimed £5,000 for security gates at his constituency home in Huntingdon as well as £13,962 for cleaning. He had claimed a further £12,951 for gardening at his second home in four years.
Mr Djanogly, son of businessman and philanthropist Sir Harry Djanogly, a member of Nottingham Hebrew Congregation, said he had paid for the wooden gates himself and was only claiming for their renovation. The 43-year-old solicitor, who succeeded John Major as MP, said police advised him to take the security measure after he helped constituents who were threatened by animal rights activists because of links to Huntingdon Life Sciences.
Mr Djanogly hosted a Jewish Child’s Day fundraising event at Parliament in September last year.
In 2002 Mr Djanogly, a member of New London Synagogue, was among the recipients of a letter from Manchester University professor Mona Baker, who sacked two Israeli academics in support of an Israel boycott.
He had earlier signed an early day motion noting “with concern” the dismissal of the academics.
He urged Professor Baker to change her mind, saying the move had been “profoundly incompatible with a liberal democratic society”.
The former Carmel College student made his first appearance at the Limmud conference in 2005, presenting a session on politics. He said he had wanted to attend “to learn more about my own heritage”.
Esther Rantzen confirmed on Tuesday that she will stand for election in Luton South if the constituency’s current Labour MP Margaret Moran seeks re-election.
The former That’s Life presenter intends to campaign as an independent “anti-sleaze” candidate.