Sir Gerald Kaufman joins expenses row

By Leon Symons, May 18, 2009

Sir Gerald Kaufman’s expenses were scrutinised by the Telegraph at the weekend.

The paper revealed that the former environment minister and MP for Manchester Gorton had charged £1,851 for a rug imported from New York.

But he had a claim for a 40-inch Bang & Olufson television costing £8,865 turned down. The maximum MPs were allowed to claim for television sets was £750.

He met parliamentary officials to discuss a claim for £28,834 for work on the kitchen and bathroom of his London flat. The paper carried a picture of notes of the meeting made by the fees office, in which an official had written down Sir Gerald’s comment that he was “living in a slum”. The officials eventually agreed that he should be reimbursed for £15,329.

The MP had claimed a total of £115,109 between 2001 and 2008 in additional costs on his London flat, which he owned outright. He had claimed £245 every month for odd jobs, just under the limit for expenses submitted without receipts.

In June 2008, he submitted a claim of £1,262 for a gas bill covering March, 2006, to May, 2008. The fees office told him that his gas account was £1,055.60 in credit and paid him £122.46.

Sir Gerald offered to repay the cost of the rug and told the newspaper that his claim for the television had been “a bit daft”. He told the Telegraph that his flat needed complete refurbishment as he had “neglected” it over the years. He had over-claimed on the gas bill because he “misunderstood” the invoice. He said his odd jobs actually cost more than the amount he had claimed.

Last updated: 11:38am, May 18 2009