Huge expenses claim by MP with St Albans home

PUBLISHED: 17:05 15 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:07 06 May 2010

James Clappison

James Clappison

MILLIONAIRE Hertsmere MP James Clappison, who owns 24 homes including one in St Albans, claimed more than £100,000 in expenses even though he does not have a mortgage. Taxpayers cash was mainly used for gardening and redecoration. Mr Clappison, whose con

MILLIONAIRE Hertsmere MP James Clappison, who owns 24 homes including one in St Albans, claimed more than £100,000 in expenses even though he does not have a mortgage.

Taxpayers' cash was mainly used for gardening and redecoration.

Mr Clappison, whose constituency takes in Radlett, bought petunias, busy lizzies with public funds for his £375,000 St Albans home where he lives with his wife Margaret.

He also spends time at a house in Leeds which is worth about £360,000 and is registered to his wife. Neither property is mortgaged.

The MP also rents out 22 properties in North Humberside where he also owns a farm, a cricket pitch and 75 acres of land inherited from his father.

Since 2001 Mr Clappison has claimed a total of £102,241 in second home expenses. Because he owned the house in St Albans outright, he was unable to claim interest charges on mortgage repayments, as many MPs do on their second homes.

Instead he made regular claims for maintenance, groceries, utilities bills and his TV licence. He typically claimed £300 per month for food, £100 - £125 per month for a cleaner and £31 per month for his cable television bill.

He has also claimed a total of £3,166 for regular work on his garden since 2004.

Detailed receipts submitted to the Commons fees office show that last year he claimed £316 for gardening services, including the planting of a wide variety of flowers. Over two months his gardener invoiced him for a box of geraniums, five boxes of petunias, one bottle brush shrub, one and half boxes of busy lizzies, three trailing geraniums and five trailing petunias.

Other items he claimed for since 2001 include a lavatory seat, a kitchen blender, a washing machine, a new bed a video recorder, a television and a DVD player.

Mr Clappison said all his expenses claims had been cleared by the fees office apart form £38.50 for bedding plants which he immediately repaid.

He said: "This was an honest mistake on my part.

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