Tag Archives: thomas legg

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.

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Daily View 2×2: 4 February 2010

Good morning, on this misty day which in history saw three awful earthquakes – in Haicheng, Guatemala and Afghanistan.

This day is a birthday to American civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks (pictured) as well as to the American vice-president famously unable to spell “potato”, Dan Quayle.

Deaths on the 4th February include Liberace and American novelist novellist writer Patricia Highsmith, who wrote Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr Ripley, and – according to Wikipedia at least – the first lesbian novel with a happy ending.

Today is also Facebook’s 6th birthday. How many other 6 year-olds earned $300m last year, had new words entered into dictionaries, and caused moral panic?

2 Big Stories

Legg Report published

Later today, Sir Thomas Legg’s report will be published on Parliament’s website. The Guardian – MPs ordered to pay back more than £1m reports:

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Three Lib Dem MPs fighting Legg’s expenses judgement

Three Lib Dems are among the 70 MPs who lodged appeals after being told to pay back some of their taxpayer-funded Commons expenses by Sir Thomas Legg, reports today’s Telegraph:

At least 35 Labour MPs and former Labour MPs have appealed against Sir Thomas’s findings, as well as 30 Conservatives, three Liberal Democrats and two independents. Among them are MPs who made some of the highest-profile claims exposed by the Telegraph investigation, including £1,645 for a duck house.

Sir Thomas’s 30-page report is thought to identify more than 300 MPs — nearly half of those in Parliament — whom he found

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Lib Dem MP Jeremy Browne appeals against decision which would have stopped him buying Taunton home

Here’s the statement on Jeremy’s website:

Taunton constituency MP Jeremy Browne is appealing against a decision by the House of Commons ACA Review Team that would have prevented him from buying a home in Taunton with his own money. Instead Sir Thomas Legg’s House of Commons ACA Review Team has requested a repayment of £17,894 in mortgage interest payments, dating from the initial arrangements Jeremy Browne made when he was elected in 2005. The appeal, conducted by Sir Paul Kennedy, will be considered and published, along with the full ACA Review Team report, in January 2010.

Jeremy Browne said:

“When I was

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Speaker Bercow tells Nick: no inquiry into MPs’ ‘flipping’ or CGT evasion

Two weeks ago, Nick Clegg wrote to Sir Thomas Legg – in the wake of Sir Thomas’s decision to recommend MPs repay public money if they had been found to have overclaimed expenses for cleaning and gardening – asking that he examine the most serious allegations levelled against MPs:

… when your inquiry was first announced, I think most people expected the worst offences such as flipping to come under the toughest scrutiny. The letters sent this week, however, appear not to focus on these offences. If your review is to be seen as credible it must expose every single one of those MPs who claimed for a non-existent mortgage or ‘flipped’ their second homes purely for personal gain, some of whom then went on to avoid Capital Gains Tax. Some of these MPs appear to have made tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds in profits with the help of taxpayer subsidies. They must be exposed and these illegitimate profits returned.

Today Nick got his answer, but not the one he – or the public – would have hoped for. Sir Thomas passed Nick’s letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, to reply. Here’s what he said (with a big hat-tip to The Times’s Sam Coates):

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Rennard’s expenses clearance: Party needs to learn some lessons in transparency

What’s the correct response to the news that Lord (Chris) Rennard has been cleared by the Clerk of the Parliaments of any wrong-doing over his allowances claims? I ask because I think there are some important issues at play here for how we, the Lib Dems, as a party can help restore trust in democracy.

First, we need to separate the personal from the political (and, incidentally, this applies just as much to Chris’s critics). Most of us who have met, or in some way know, Chris will be pleased for him on a personal level. The allegations that he’d somehow fiddled the system has dogged him since April, and brought about a more-hasty-than-planned exit to his time as the party’s chief executive.

Above all, though, Chris’s friends and the wider party will be relieved. The allegations against him have hung like a dark cloud over the Lib Dems’ pronouncements on expenses for several months now.

To be blunt, it’s been an embarrassment, and one which the party has handled poorly – precisely because we’ve failed to separate the personal from the political.

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The Legg letters: the 24 21 Lib Dem MPs staying silent

All this week, LDV has been compiling a full list of the findings of Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiries into MPs’ expenses as they related to the Lib Dems’ 63 MPs. We are adding to this list as information is received by us or published elsewhere.

We now have information on around two-thirds of the Parliamentary party, 39 MPs – but this still leaves 24 Lib Dem MPs whose Legg letters we don’t know about. The party’s whips office has recommended all the party’s MPs publish a statement on their websites in order to ensure the party’s representatives are as open and accountable as possible. However, after spot-checking half a dozen of the 24 ‘missing’ MPs I can see no references on any of their sites: this is a pretty unimpressive record.

LDV readers – or MPs or their staff – can contact us direct to help us establish a full, accurate and transparent record: please leave a comment in the thread to update us, or alternatively email us at [email protected]

As of Saturday, here’s the scores on the doors (which we’ll update as we get more info):

Clean bill of health letter received from Sir Thomas Legg:

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMalcolm Todd 17th Mar - 2:00pm
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  • User AvatarRoland 17th Mar - 11:32am
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