The sleaze allegations engulfing the government have moved to those MPs letting out their London homes while claiming money from taxpayers for themselves renting accommodation elsewhere in the capital.
Over the weekend The Times named 14 MPs which it accused of renting homes using a parliamentary expenses scheme loophole.
This means the MPs get an additional ‘side hustle’ income of £10,000 or more a year, while at the same time claiming to rent property close to the Houses of Parliament.
Former attorney general Sir Geoffrey Cox - facing criticism over earning some £1m annually as a lawyer in addition to being an MP - has been letting his Battersea home since 2017, renting another London flat for £1,900 per month.
Others include former cabinet ministers John Whittingdale and Liam Fox, former minister Robert Goodwill and Conservative backbenchers including Philip Davies.
The Parliamentary expenses regulator, there Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). is quoted in The Times as saying in a statement that even though there is a “perception of personal gain”, it cannot oblige MPs live in their own homes.
The loophole was formed in 2010 when Ipsa banned MPs from claiming mortgage interest payments on the expenses scheme.
Meanwhile a separate investigation by The Independent online newspaper says some 17 landlord MPs - 15 Tories and two Labour - have put their housing costs on expenses while earning more than £10,000 a year each renting out their own properties in recent years.
These include international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, defence secretary Ben Wallace, Foreign Office minister James Cleverly, prisons minister Victoria Atkins and junior Treasury minister John Glen.
Conservative backbencher Damian Collins has the single largest rent expenses submission, claiming just over £148,000 from the taxpayer over the past five years, all while taking in a personal rental income from property in London.
Labour MP Geraint Davies has claimed just over £67,000 in taxpayer funding to rent a home between November 2017 and April 2021 – a period during which he also collecting rent payments letting out residential a property he owns in the capital.
And Clive Betts, another Labour backbencher, claimed just over £44,000 for rent between April 2016 and June 2018, the same period he also claimed rental income on a London home.
MPs have not been eligible to claim expenses for mortgage payments on second homes in London since 2010 - ironically when such claims were banned following the previous year’s expenses scandal.
However, MPs can claim taxpayer funding for “rental payments and associated costs” according to IPSA.
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