St Albans MP fights back over expenses row
PUBLISHED: 13:12 28 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:07 06 May 2010
EMBATTLED MP Anne Main has this week answered her critics and come out fighting in her own defence over the expenses row. Speaking exclusively to the Herts Advertiser, she sent copies of her diary for the last year showing what a high percentage of her ti
EMBATTLED MP Anne Main has this week answered her critics and come out fighting in her own defence over the expenses row.
Speaking exclusively to the Herts Advertiser, she sent copies of her diary for the last year showing what a high percentage of her time is spent working in her constituency and proving she spent a minimum of 68 nights staying at her St Albans flat.
Mrs Main has been singled out by the Daily Telegraph which has been at the heart of the expenses revelations primarily because her St Albans flat has been occupied by her company director daughter and mortgage interest and council tax rebates have been claimed against the property.
Mrs Main's principal home is a large detached house in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire which is 25 miles from St Albans.
But the flat is at the centre of the political storm surrounding her "second home" expenses claims.
The MP charges taxpayers around £1,100 a month in mortgage interest payments for the flat along with service charges and utility bills..
She has claimed a 10 per cent discount on council tax since 2004 - amounting to £171 last year - and submitted the bill on her expenses. The discount can only be claimed if no-one lives at the property full-time.
But the Daily Telegraph claims her daughter Claire Tonks has been living at the flat full-time rent-free and registered that address with Companies House.
Mrs Main agreed she did not charge her daughter rent but said: "My situation was no secret but Claire works in London and all her friends and social life are either London or Beaconsfield-based. Sometimes she stayed there a lot and sometimes not. She helped me by doing all the household chores and it was nice for me to have her there.
"I don't know why she gave the St Albans address to Companies House because all her other mail goes to Beaconsfield where she also spends time.
"She has no financial interest in the property and will soon be purchasing her own place in London. As the flat is not the main residence for me or my daughter it qualifies for 10 per cent relief on council tax. "
Mrs Main was due to meet with the members of the local Conservative Association tonight (28/5) at a short-notice meeting called in London Colney to discuss the expenses row.
Blob* Hitchin and Harpenden MP Peter Lilley, whose main home is outside Hitchin, also claims for a second home in London near the House of Commons.
He has revealed that he claimed almost £21,000 in the year 2006-7, broken down to more than £12,000 a year in mortgage interest, £1,500 for food, more than £1,200 in utilities and £1,100 in council tax.
Cleaning costs amounted to £300 with £550 in service costs, £500 for insurances and £2,000 to repair a leak from a drain.