Dawn Butler MP under fire over her expense claims

Dawn Butler, Labour MP for Brent South, is in the news today for her second home expense claims. The logic of the second homes allowances is that if you are an MP who has a constituency a long way from London then you need to have two homes, one for Parliament and one for the constituency.

That raises some questions about how far away from London your constituency should be before you can claim this money. But Dawn Butler has opened up a different front to the rolling expenses scandal. Because she has a home in her Brent South constituency and then another home in Stratford which … is pretty much the same distance from Westminster as the one in her constituency.

It’s cost taxpayers £37,245 over the last two years. Now if she were an MP from, let’s say, Scotland you’d say, “Fair enough, obviously you can’t daily commute to Parliament from your constituency.” But to live in London (and, note, no Liberal Democrat London MP claims the second home allowance) and for your non-constituency home to be not really any nearer to Parliament than your constituency home? That is, as they say, questionable.

As Norman Baker puts it in The Times: “It is difficult to see how an MP having two homes equidistant from Westminster helps them with their duties.”

Further coverage is in the Evening Standard, which calculates that the difference in travel time to Parliament from the two houses is a matter of a few minutes.

UPDATE: The BBC has filmed a reporter making the two different journeys. You can watch their report here.

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  • I live in Brent South, work in Westminster and commute to Parliament every day. It’s really not that difficult (around 25 mins on the Jub or Bakerloo line). Last tube home is 0031. And a black cab after then would cost around £20 (Parliament would pay this for her).

  • Absolutely shameful. These MPs have no shame at all. Claiming cash equivalent to several years’ salary for an ordinary person to line their own houses…

  • Teather will LOVE this.

  • She has no shame. Like Tony McNulty before her we are seeing the greed and arrogance of these Labour MPs. How dare they say ‘it’s within the rules’? Disgraceful.

  • I note in passing that this is yet to be reported (at least, in a readily visible fashion) on the websites of the Beeb and the Graun. Interesting.

  • Dawn Butler is yet another New Labour MP with her snout in the trough. She’s also my local MP which really saddens me, as there is no need for her to be claiming this allowance from the already shafted taxpayers. If she wants to build up a property portfolio, I suggest she uses her own wage. I’m now a former supporter, I’ve had enough of their greed and lies. We’ve had Tony Blair’s war mongering lies and now this, it seems the so-called peoples party is full of careerist and thieves.

  • Nathan Blau 19th May '09 - 1:49pm

    Is it true Blunkett claimed for binoculars??

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