Nick Clegg sells second home, returns profit to the taxpayer

Nick Clegg has kept his promise made a year ago, to return any profit from the sale of his constituency home to the taxpayer.

Clegg told his local newspaper, the Sheffield Star, that he has now written a cheque to the House of Commons authorities for £38,750.

The Star reports:

Although he could have been allowed to keep the money under current rules, the Hallam MP and Lib Dem leader said he wanted to “lead by example” and that he hoped other MPs follow suit as they are forced to sell second homes and rent properties instead.

The new regulations come in later this year.

Speaking exclusively to The Star, Mr Clegg said: “I have moved out of my home at Knowle Lane, Bents Green, sold it and moved into rented accommodation in the Rivelin Valley at Stannington. There has been a profit for the taxpayer and, as I promised before the election last year, it will be returned to the taxpayer.

“The house was bought in 2006 for £280,000 and sold for £325,000. The profit is £38,750 after deduction of fees and other costs. I have written a cheque to the House of Commons authorities to make sure that the money goes back to the taxpayer.”

He added: “It’s not something that is required of me and I expect not all other MPs will do the same but it’s my personal choice to lead by example. I don’t want to be holier than though about it but the old expenses system made people very angry. MPs should get out of the property game and it’s something I pushed for.

You can read the full report at the Sheffield Star.

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  • If Blair followed suit we could probably build a hospital.

  • Nicholas Lane 19th Apr '11 - 4:10pm

    Alistair – brilliant!

  • It does raise the point about why do this at all? The problem with the IPSA and new rules are that they are wholly inadequate. After all, why on Earth should it really anyone’s busines how an MP pays for their home. The current system just invites these unsatisfactory situations and politically motivated attacks on expenses.

    A really radical solution is to abolish MP expenses. Totally. Slash the number of MPs and triple the pay of those that remain. Perhaps allow a cash weight for travel (equivalent to an annual train ticket between London and the constituency). Then have Parliament buy houses that can be cheaply rented to out of London MPs as a taxable benefit.

    Then, if MPs wish to use their salary for housing, employing families and so on, it is their money and their business. No complex rules, no allegations of fraud – simple. If voters wish to comment on the lifestyle choices their MP uses their pay for, fine. But the best way to stop the expenses system being gamed is not to have a system.

    Indeed, I don’t especially like David Laws’ politics, but I had great sympathy for him. He claimed well under the maximum, so it was hardly bad-faith. There is no reason why MPs private lives should be exposed as his was.

  • Patrick Smith 19th Apr '11 - 4:44pm

    The keeping of the word on sale of a second home by the DPM is the mark of a true national leader and international Liberal reforming statesman.It is the act of a leader of real honour,values and integrity.It keeps firmly in mind that so many families are hard against the pump to make ends meet during this period of austerity to pay back the national deficit.

  • never mind the gesture (admittedly one worth making), isn’t the big story that Clegg seems to be loosening his constituency ties? Is he going to stand again in Sheffield?

  • shame he never paid back the 300k he made at taxpayers expense on his Euro home 😉

    Good show for standing up to the plate now though 🙂

  • Andrew Suffield 19th Apr '11 - 7:08pm

    Is he going to stand again in Sheffield?

    Of course he is. Clegg’s seat is immensely secure. He has over 50% of the vote, with the nearest contender being not only a mere 23%, but also a Tory (historically it was a strong Tory seat). There is no prospect of any even remotely plausible challenge in Sheffield Hallam.

  • It is a poor reflection of our political classes when it is news when an MP keeps his word. Good for him for doing this, see he can keep his word when he tries….

  • I don’t think Nick Clegg is loosening his constituency ties. I’m no expert on the local geography but Election Maps shows that his new rented flat is in the constituency.

    Looks like he is merely keeping good on his promise that any second home should be rented.

  • @Andrew Suffield, the innuendo was that Clegg wouldn’t be standing there in the next election…

  • an angry voter 20th Apr '11 - 10:31am

    Andrew I hardly doubt it given the opinion polls in Hallam say he’ll lose.

    Clegg is the only man to make umpteen thousand majority a marginal seat,

    whist, also making Central where the Labour MP has 165 majority, a safe seat

  • david thorpe 20th Apr '11 - 11:51am

    as a member of the government, nick, like all other members of the government must spend lots more time in London than a regualr MP would, and thus less time in sheffield.
    excerement was pushed through his door in sheffield, motivating him to move.

  • Chris Riley 20th Apr '11 - 1:28pm

    Anders, Andrew, of course, you are absolutely right.

    There is absolutely no way a politician, no matter how unpopular, could lose a seat where they hold over 50% of the vote and was one of the safest seats in the country!

    Just to refresh your memories, Neil Hamilton was not always a TV buffoon. In 1992 he won Tatton, a Tory seat he had held since 1983, never getting less than 54% of the vote (in fact, against trend, he increased his majority in 1992). It was the 4th safest Tory seat in the country.

    He was then involved in a scandal and became a nationally unpopular figure, but, fortunately for Hamilton, according to you, what happened to him in 1997 was, in fact, impossible and he didn’t actually lose the seat he had held by nearly 16,000 votes and a 55% vote share, by 11,000, to an independent.

    As a result, George Osborne isn’t Chancellor, so maybe your world isn’t that bad.

    And don’t tell me Hamilton is not comparable. He was a politician who became nationally unpopular for dishonesty and blameshifting. The public don’t care for nuances and, at the moment, the polls show that they don’t care for Lib Dem excuse-making either. Nick Clegg is not comparable on a personal level – but given the opportunity, the public will gleefully kick someone they see as a high-profile liar and you have to be wilfully blind not to realise that is how a lot of the public see him.

    His seat is not safe. It is safe from Labour, but it says a great deal about the mentality of many Lib Dems that you perceive that just because Labour can’t win it, it is therefore safe.

  • @david thorpe

    Gordon Brown managed to keep his family home near his constituency. Being in London does not preclude you from owning a home amongst the people you represent.

    @Anders Hanson
    I suggest that Nick may not like to stand again because he will be blamed for the Lib Dem wipe out next month. The Scottish Lib Dems are certainly making mutterings to that effect.

  • Andrew Suffield 20th Apr '11 - 6:16pm

    I suggest that Nick may not like to stand again because he will be blamed for the Lib Dem wipe out next month.

    Will we see you not post again when the “wipe out” fails to occur?

  • @Andrew Suffield

    I will eat humble pie should that be the case.

    However, I predict that in scotland the number of MSPs will be at least halved.

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