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Southend West MP could be banned from renting home
8:20am Thursday 22nd November 2012 in Echo News
TORY MP David Amess could be banned from renting out his parliamentary second home and billing taxpayers £1,570 a month to stay elsewhere.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has launched a review of the MPs’ expenses scheme, which it is responsible for policing.
The move comes a month after controversy erupted over more than 30 parliamentarians, who were revealed to be letting out their second homes while renting property elsewhere in the capital.
However, Mr Amess has dodged a bid to expose to whom he channels public money every month.
A Freedom of Information request to reveal details of landlords who rent their properties to MPs has revealed the arrangements of more than 300 parliamentarians.
But Mr Amess, who represents Southend West, escaped scrutiny after convincing sleaze watchdogs not to publish his details for an unknown reason.
The decision has outraged critics, who claimed it was another example of the MP trying to sidestep questions about his expenses.
Martin Terry, spokesman for Southend’s Independent group, said: “When this Government was elected, they promised they would be open and transparent about MPs’ expenses.
“But yet again, we have Mr Amess hiding something from the public.
“He is an elected politician and he needs to be accountable.”
During the financial year 2011/12, Mr Amess claimed £11,500 for stays in hotels and rent on a flat, separate from the two-bedroom home he owns on the Isle of Dogs.
He also charged the taxpayer £2,700 for commuting to and from London.
IPSA’s consultation on the expenses rules was launched this week and will run until January 18.
To take part, members of the public can visit www.parliamentarystandards.org.uk.
Any changes will come into force in April. Sir Ian Kennedy, IPSA’s chairman, said: “Since IPSA was created in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal, we have established a new, robust, transparent and effective system for administering MPs’ business costs and expenses.
“The scheme is operating well, but where it has been suggested that minor adjustments are needed, we are open minded and want to hear what people think.”
In a statement on his website, Mr Amess said he had been open and honest about his expenses at all times.
He added: “The accommodation is rented through a letting agency.
“I have never met the landlord, who is not a Member of Parliament and is neither a relative nor a friend.”
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