James Purnell accused of abusing expenses rules

An ironic twist in the latest MP expenses story – this time is it James Purnell, the minister in charge of ensuring that the rest of us don’t claim too much in expenses, who is accused of claiming back more in rental costs than he actually paid out. The Sunday Express writes:

CABINET Minister James Purnell was under pressure last night to explain why he claimed £10,000 more in Parliamentary expenses than he paid in rent for his London flat.

The Welfare and Pensions Secretary, tipped as a future leader of the Labour Party, pocketed £10,143 more than the rent he was being charged on his second home in London.

A Sunday Express investigation has revealed that Mr Purnell submitted rent claims of up to £2,020 each month – yet bank records prove that he paid only £910 every month…

On 17 of the 22 months he lived at the flat, he always claimed hundreds of pounds more than the rent he was actually paying. Records for the other months are missing…

A friend of Mr Purnell told the Sunday Express that [his then partner] Miss Walker often travelled abroad for her work and Mr Purnell would reimburse her in cash for a share of the rent and then claim that sum back from the taxpayer…

Mr Purnell’s explanation of his financial arrangements were branded “bizarre” by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has campaigned for the rules to be tightened on MPs’ expenses, and “unbelievably complicated” by Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable.

And Martin Bell, the former MP and anti-corruption campaigner, called on the Commons sleaze watchdog to look into the rent claims.

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8 Comments

  • Er – and just how did the Sunday Express get hold of Purnell’s bank details to be able to confirm the £910 figure? Isn’t this of even greater concern than the amount claimed by Purnell?

  • rantersparadise 7th May '09 - 12:52am

    @ KL

    Agreed.

  • Helen Grounds 12th May '09 - 5:18pm

    I can’t believe that this man changed the law so that people who were getting an occupational pension could not claim Job Seekers allowance to help with their expenses whilst looking for another job. He didn’t even have the decency to reply to my correspondence when I wrote and asked him about it either.

  • Peter James 16th May '09 - 5:28pm

    Purnell is quite simply a fraudster and a crook. He believes in one rule for himself, being able to exploit loopholes to committ a criminal offence, and another rule for disabled people, whereby they are discriminated against financially because of their condition.
    The sooner that this right wing criminal is deselected from Stalybridge and Hyde CLP the better for those who wish to live in a decent society.

  • Karen O'Shaughnessy 19th May '09 - 1:28pm

    How dare you claim for things out of the public purse the same purse that cannot get the town you are the mp for back on its feet. Where in December at least 6 to 8 business closed and people were made redundant and are still out of work.
    Where for every job vacancy gets over 150 applicants. Where our town needs sundials building ??? like that will make a difference. Are you getting warm yet Mr Purnell, Stalybridge is the place next time you have a bit of spare time go and have a look at what labour has done to our town, But there again you can claim for a second home and don,t have to look ok for some.

  • KLAUS IRRGANG 20th May '09 - 11:28am

    I UNDERSTAND THAT JAMES P. HAS CLAIMED HIS HOUSE IN THE NORTH AS HIS FIRST POPERTY.
    AFTER RE-FURBISHING HIS SECOND(FALSE ) LONDON HOME ( ALTHOUGH THIS WAS HIS REAL ! FIRST BEFORE HE BOUGHT THE NORTHERN PROPERTY !!!!!) HE IS UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE DESIGNATED THIS !! AS HIS FIRST HOME,
    SOLD IT AND AVOIDED CAPITAL GAINS TAX.

  • I nominate Porky Pig as new Patron Saint of Public Officials

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