No repayments sought from local MPs

Read it on the Wharfdale & Airdale Observer website

MPs for Wharfedale and Aireborough are not being asked to repay expenses claims, as scrutiny of MPs' claims goes on nationally.

The MPs for the Keighley, Leeds North West, Pudsey and Shipley constituencies have received letters from Sir Thomas Legg, who has carried out an independent audit of expenses for the House of Commons.

Some of the local members have been asked to clarify some of the expenses they have claimed, but none have so far been asked to repay any money.

The expenses scandal, triggered by a leak to a national newspaper, has seen senior members of both major political parties challenged over their expenses claims, and many politicians have already started repaying money. Others are said to be considering legal action, claiming the rules were changed after the event.

Letters have been sent out to MPs across the country detailing contested expenses claims, and asking some to pay money back.

However, MPs in this area have not been asked for any such repayments.

A spokesman for Ilkley and Keighley Labour MP Ann Cryer said she had received a letter asking for clarification over come historic claims, but had not been asked to repay any expenses. He said he was not able to say what the claims being questioned in the letter were for.

Burley and Menston's representative, Shipley MP Philip Davies, said he had been asked for clarification of two expenses items.

Mr Davies said one of these was a 'mistake' over a claim for a £232 telephone and answering machine, which should have been filed as an office rather than a home expenses claim.

The Conservative MP, whose second home is in Lambeth, London, said he was also being asked to produce a mortgage interest statement for a three-month period in 2005 to 2006.

The office of Greg Mulholland, who represents Otley for the Liberal Democrats, said he had received a letter and had not been asked to repay anything or to provide any further receipts.

Aireborough and Pudsey MP, Labour's Paul Truswell, confirmed that he had received a letter from Sir Thomas, but there were no recommendations in it for any repayment.

The office of Skipton and Ripon Conservative MP, David Curry, said they would not be commenting.

The Telegraph, which began combing through MPs' expenses after a leak of the figures, has published details of some of the claims made by local MPs.

MP Ann Cryer strongly refuted suggestions made by the Daily Telegraph that she gained financially from her son, John, when he was also an MP.

The newspaper highlighted a claim by Mr Mulholland of £37.94 for a cot and playpen, which was refused, and claims he made in £138 to reframe five pictures and £158 for a pine bookshelf.

The Telegraph also highlighted claims by Paul Truswell in 2007 to 2008 of £2,255 for food and £18 for laundry, saying he stays in hotels while in London, usually paying £119 for a room, and once claimed £4.95 for a packet of nuts.

The newspaper said that Philip Davies claimed more than £2,000 for hotels in May 2005 before buying a home in London, and was overpaid at the end of the year by the fees office and had to reimburse £303.

The Telegraph says David Curry moved his designated second home from a London flat, where he spent £785 on furniture and £1,300 a month on rent, to a constituency cottage he had owned since 1987.