North Somerset MP Liam Fox hits back in row over rent expenses
North Somerset MP Liam Fox has hit back in the row over MPs renting out their London flats.
The North Somerset MP says the “absurd” rules set up in the wake of the expenses scandal were to blame for the row.
Dr Fox is one of 27 MPs who claim expenses to rent out a London home while simultaneously letting out another one that they own.
He is not one of eight who are reported to be in a rental arrangement with another MP.
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Dr Fox said he had been moved out of the London flat he owns for security when he was made Defence Secretary. He resigned from the job a year ago.
He said: “The options were either to sell it or keep it rented until I was able to move back at a future date.”
Dr Fox said he would sell the flat “at some point”.
The Telegraph reported today that Dr Fox is one of several members of the House of Commons, including former ministers, who are claiming expenses of up to £20,000 a year each for rent as well as receiving rent from properties that were often purchased and refurbished with taxpayer assistance.
The paper claims that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has confirmed that at least eight MPs are either letting properties to, or renting from, another MP, a loophole in the rules that effectively allows them to continue building up property nest-eggs at taxpayers’ expense.
Research by this newspaper using official parliamentary records shows that the 27 MPs who are renting London homes while claiming rental income for other flats include Dr Fox, Chris Bryant, the shadow immigration minister, and former defence ministers Peter Luff and Nick Harvey, as well as David Amess, a Tory MP.
Officially – according to parliamentary rules – they have not done anything wrong.
But it is likely that questions will be asked about how taxpayers’ money is being used.
The documents show that Dr Fox began claiming £1,971 a month in rent at the beginning of this year, shortly after letting his south London flat. Mr Fox does not rent from or let to another MP.