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Leeds North East Labour MP Fabian Hamilton, named this week in the Westminster expenses scandal, has denied misuse of taxpayers’ money and pledged to stand again at the next election.
The Daily Telegraph said he had claimed the maximum amount on his second home in three of the last four years, totalling £87,349, and that he had designated his family home in Leeds as his second home while living at his mother’s house in Willesden, north west London, until she died in 2005.
“I have written to all my constituency members. So far, I have had extremely positive soundings from them and from the Jewish community, who have been very supportive. I have not heard anyone say that I should step down,” said the MP.
“I look forward to fighting for my seat.
I know this has done damage, but I will repair it by working tirelessly before the next election.”
But, he complained: “Is it right that my personal family business is splashed all over the media? I have to correct the impression that I moved into my mother’s house just to claim the allowance, which is just not true.”
He explained that he had moved in with his mother, a retired judge, who had become increasingly ill and frail. Through his accountant, Revenue and Customs had agreed that for tax purposes, his mother’s house would be regarded as his first home and the Leeds home as the second.
He admitted he had not thought about the consequences “because we are far too busy doing the job”.
He said he had had to care for his mother while performing his duties as an MP. He had paid for all the bills for his mother’s house while he lived there and after she went into hospital, including the removal of the contents after her death.
Controversial MP Sir Gerald Kaufman’s expenses were among those scrutinised by the Telegraph at the weekend. The MP for Manchester Gorton had charged £1,851 for a rug imported from New York.
But his claim for a 40-inch Bang & Olufsen television costing £8,865 was turned down. The maximum MPs were allowed to claim for television sets was £750.
He met Fees Office officials to discuss a claim for £28,834 for work on his London flat, because, he said, he was “living in a slum”. The officials eventually agreed that he should be reimbursed for £15,329.
Sir Gerald offered to repay the cost of the rug and acknowledged that his claim for the TV had been “a bit daft”. He told the Telegraph that his flat needed complete refurbishment as he had “neglected” it over the years.