Lembit wins MPs’ expenses appeal, is now owed £40

Last week it was Lib Dem MP Jeremy Browne has won his appeal against repaying £18,000 of expenses. Now fellow Lib Dem Lembit Opik has also had his appeal against repaying hundreds of pounds in parliamentary expenses allowed by Sir Paul Kennedy, the judge brought in to arbitrate on disputed claims. The BBC reports:

Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik was ordered to pay back £900 he claimed for a mobile phone bill. Sir Thomas Legg, the retired civil servant auditing MPs’ expenses, said the Liberal Democrat MP should not have been able to claim for the phone bill. But Mr Opik won an appeal against the ruling.

Intriguingly, this leaves the taxpayer in debt to Lembit:

The MP, one of almost 80 MPs to challenge Sir Thomas, has actually repaid £195 in total, so is now technically owed £40 by the Commons authorities.

Now there’s an ethical dilemma for an MP just months away from seeking re-election.

Menawhile, here’s a brief clip of Lib Dem MP Norman Baker talking about the publication of Sir Thomas’s report.

(Hat-tip: PoliticsHome).

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3 Comments

  • My quick calculation is that the combined total paid back by Lib Dem MPs is less than that paid back by Labour Mp Barbara Follett.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th Feb '10 - 1:00am

    I suspect that the more rulings against MPs that are overturned on appeal, the more people will conclude that the political establishment in general still doesn’t “get it”.

    I wish someone would explain – for example – why taxpayers should contribute towards two sets of mortgage payments, in respect of both of Jeremy Browne’s homes – one for the mortgage on his London home, and the other for a second mortgage to pay for the deposit on his Taunton home.

    I can see a kind of argument in favour of one extra taxpayer-funded home – though Nick Clegg has made so much noise about no Lib Dem MP making a capital gain from even _one_ house purchase that I hope Jeremy is committed to paying back his profits on _both_ properties.

    But two taxpayer-funded homes? Do ordinary people expect their employers to buy a house for them? How can anyone defend it?

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