Watchdog to probe Baroness Warsi expenses
The Lords sleaze watchdog is investigating Baroness Warsi's expenses after she asked him to examine allegations she claimed for accommodation while staying rent-free at a friend's house.
The Tory co-chairman insists the payments were within both the spirit and the letter of the rules governing Parliamentary allowances. Downing Street said Prime Minister David Cameron had full confidence in her and rebuffed suggestions she should stand down until her name had been cleared.
Lady Warsi attempted to take the heat out of the controversy by asking Paul Kernaghan, the Lords Commissioner for Standards, to scrutinise her case.
Speaking during a visit to Malaysia, she said: “I take these allegations very seriously — it is why I said right at the outset that I would fully co-operate with any investigation.”
The Labour MP John Mann also referred her to the Commissioner. He claimed her move was designed to “sideline” scrutiny of her expenses claims.
The allegations centre on nights Lady Warsi spent in 2008 at a friend's flat in Acton, west London. She claimed overnight subsistence — worth up to £165.50 a night — for the stays. She says she passed the money to the friend, Naweed Khan. But the property's owner, Dr Wafik Moustafa, a former Conservative donor, said he had received “not a penny” from either Lady Warsi or Mr Khan.