MP's pledge to St Albans in wake of new expenses guidelines
MP Anne Main has pledged to maintain a base in St Albans despite new expenses guidelines issued this week. The MP, who has her main home in Beaconsfield but has a flat in St Albans, was singled out for criticism during the expenses scandal because she all
MP Anne Main has pledged to maintain a base in St Albans despite new expenses guidelines issued this week.
The MP, who has her main home in Beaconsfield but has a flat in St Albans, was singled out for criticism during the expenses scandal because she allowed her daughter to live in her second home.
Although she maintained her daughter only stayed there part time, Mrs Main claimed a 10 per cent discount on her council tax for the property and charged taxpayers more than �1,000 a month in mortgage interest payments.
On Monday the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) revealed new rules for MPs' expenses which will include the rental of one-bedroom flats for MPs requiring second homes with a two-year transition period for existing members.
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Mrs Main, who has always maintained she followed the fees office rules to the letter, was ordered to repay thousands of pounds earlier this year but said this week that she welcomed clarity on expenses.
She went on: "The previous system which we operated under was extremely complex, poorly managed and obviously not fit for purpose.
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"The old system, as we know, had been reliant on interpretation by the fees office and sadly their advice has meant that many Members of Parliament, including myself, have found themselves receiving poor guidance. Quite rightly there has been a large amount of public anger over the whole system."
She said that under the new IPSA regulations, St Albans was among 128 constituencies which now fell into a new category which were judged to be within a 60-minute commute of Westminster.
"The changes mean that, whilst previously it was within the rules for this group of constituencies to be eligible for a second home allowance, they no longer are. We have all been given a transitional period to sort out our arrangements.
"It is important that I put into place arrangements that allow me to perform my parliamentary duties and serve my constituents as effectively as possible which, of course, will include me maintaining a base in St Albans.