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MP's expenses: Members claiming for rent and hotel rooms despite owning property in capital

MPs are claiming hundreds of thousands of pounds in expenses for London rents and hotels despite owning properties in the capital, it has been reported.

Channel 4 News said that it had identified 46 MPs who claimed rent or hotel bills even though they had properties in London at a cost to the taxpayer more than £1.3 million since 2012.

The programme said that many of the MPs involved had originally bought the properties under the old expenses system when they were allowed to claim mortgage payments on second homes.

But after mortgage claims were banned following the MPs' expenses scandal they switched to letting out their London properties and started claiming expenses for rent and hotels.

The programme said that the MPs were doing nothing wrong under the rules set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which now runs the expenses system.

Some MPs were said to have argued that the new rules banning mortgage claims meant they had been forced to let out their second home in order to be able to afford the mortgage and other costs.

But Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the Committee for Standards in Public Life, warned that it would be seen by the public as another example of MPs "on the make".

"It's not always just about exactly what the rules say. It is about you taking personal responsibility that public funds are used in a proper and appropriate way that your constituents would be comfortable with," he told the programme.

"I'm sure we will hear all sorts of sob stories about why it's justifiable to do what they've done.

"But they must know in their heart of hearts that the public will see this as MPs on the make."

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