St Albans MP Anne Main asked to repay cash

PUBLISHED: 07:46 17 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 May 2010

St Albans MP Anne Main

St Albans MP Anne Main

ST ALBANS MP Anne Main has been asked to repay an overpayment of £460 as part of a probe into MPs expenses. She received a letter from Sir Thomas Legg, the former civil servant charged with auditing MPs claims, on Monday asking her to produce certain do

ST ALBANS MP Anne Main has been asked to repay an overpayment of £460 as part of a probe into MPs' expenses.

She received a letter from Sir Thomas Legg, the former civil servant charged with auditing MPs' claims, on Monday asking her to produce certain documents to prove the status of her mortgage and service charge payments.

She said the overpayment was a result of an accounting error: "I said that I was seeking clarification regarding a half-yearly service charge in respect of my second home.

"Upon investigation, it appears that an invoice for a half-yearly service charge of £463.59 for the first six months of 2007 was double-invoiced and paid twice, which of course is incorrect.

"Obviously, this was an accounting error, which was not spotted at the time, and I was totally unaware of it.

"Now this error has been brought to light, the money will, of course, be repaid. I am grateful to Sir Thomas Legg for pointing out this anomaly."

In addition she has been asked to provide documentation to confirm that her mortgage was on an interest-only basis and has now submitted this information from her mortgage provider.

Sir Thomas found that some MPs claimed for the capital on their mortgages when only interest payments are permitted.

Mrs Main's principal home is a large detached house in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, which is 25 miles from St Albans, but her city centre flat was at the centre of a political storm surrounding her expenses claims for a second home.

The MP charges taxpayers around £1,100 a month in mortgage interest payments for the flat, along with service charges and utility bills.

The row centred around Mrs Main's alleged abuse of Commons allowances, as she was accused of allowing her daughter to live rent-free in her St Albans flat despite claiming a 10 per cent discount on her council tax for the property. The discount is only available for homes in which nobody lives full-time.

Last year Mrs Main claimed a total of more than £22,000 in second home expenses.

Meanwhile Hertsmere MP Tory James Clappison's letter from Sir Thomas completely vindicated him.

His agent Mark Shaw said: "No request for payment was made, he had no questions to answer and he was told his expenses claims were completely within the letter and spirit of the law."

Harpenden MP Peter Lilley has received a letter asking him to justify one element of his past claims, though Sir Thomas says there is no implication of impropriety.

Mr Lilley said: "I am confident that his concerns are unfounded and will provide him with further information which I hope will satisfy him.

"But at the end of the day even if we think Sir Thomas's final ruling is wrong I believe MPs simply have to accept it - that would be my intention. It would be very wrong for MPs to challenge him in the courts.

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