Salisbury MP John Glen has explained why he claimed taxpayer money via parliamentary expenses to cover his rent while also renting out a property he owned in London.
The so-called loophole can allow MPs to cover rental payments while making at least £10,000 a year letting out properties in the capital.
The MP was named by The Independent on Friday (November 12) as being one of four Government ministers who claimed accommodation costs while earning thousands of pounds a year.
Mr Glen has claimed £1,200 every month from February to May this year, for rent accommodation costs, according to publicly available MP expenses information.
Parliamentary expenses for rent accommodation can only be claimed on the property the MP lives in, according to Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) regulations.
However, the MP, who is also Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, has now responded to the investigation by explaining he already owned a property in London, but rules governing MPs’ expenses prohibited him from living in it.
“This relates to an historic situation,” he said.
“I bought a flat in London long before becoming an MP.
“However, it was not owned outright, but was heavily mortgaged, and therefore the IPSA rules in force at the time prohibited me from living in it.
“I completely agree that it would have been both cheaper and easier to have been able to live in my own flat, but I followed the advice I was given and obeyed the rules to the letter.”
The news follows weeks of intense scrutiny over MPs’ finances following the Owen Paterson lobbying row and news Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Cox made almost £900,000 in the past year through legal work.
It has sparked a debate over whether MPs should be allowed to have second jobs.
Mr Glen, a junior Treasury minister, is not allowed to have a second job.
However, according to financial information published in the MPs’ Register of Interests, the MP has shareholdings valued at more than £70,000 with three firms.
On this subject, Mr Glen said: “I continue to fully disclose my declarable interests as required. I have one source of income which is my MP’s salary and do not draw a salary as a minister.”
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