MP first to publish his expenses

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A Lancashire MP has said expenses he was ordered to repay were "overpayments" from the Parliamentary fees office.

Lancaster and Wyre MP Ben Wallace, who publishes all his expense claims on his website, was overpaid by 1,079.99 for mortgage interest in 2008-09, according to the Sir Thomas Legg report, released last week.

He said: "The sum requested by Sir Thomas was calculated on overpayments made to me by the Fees office on mortgage interest over a period of three months while interest rates were tumbling during November 2008 to 2009.

"The discrepancy arose each month as during the time it took to process my claims (10 working days) interest rates were cut by the Bank of England.

"So the statements by the lender did not match the amount taken by direct debit. I informed the fees office of the error last July, but they chose not to act on the letter and Sir Thomas did instead.

"Sir Thomas Legg's review produced a number of letters to me, most of which proved to be completely wrong and based on chaotic records of Parliament.

"All claims made by me were entirely within both the rules and the law and have been openly published by me since Feb 2008.

"I was the first of all 646 MPs to publish my expenses in full, a complete year before the expenses stories emerged."

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