MP opens expenses claims to the Evening Post

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A Lancashire MP has become one of the few politicians to open up his expenses to public scrutiny after more than a week of revelations which have rocked Westminster.

Chorley's Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle broke ranks with other MPs in the county and invited the Lancashire Evening Post to pore over his second home expense claims.

Mr Hoyle has claimed 81,372 under the Additional Cost Allowance (ACA) between 2004/05 and 2007/08 for a two-bedroom flat in Kennington, south London. His main home is in Adlington near Chorley.

His claims include:

* 550 on two coffee tables

* 241.44 for a dinner set of cutlery and crockery

* 451.50 on light fittings

* 185 for a vacuum cleaner

In total, he has spent a relatively modest 1,892 on furnishings over the four years.

Mr Hoyle, a member of the influential Commons Business select committee, admitted that three years ago he took out a second mortgage for around 22,000 on his London property.

A document within his expenses files revealed how in February 2008 Mr Hoyle claimed 770.83 in mortgage interest payments, which included 662.67 in interest payments on his home loan and 108.16 on a second loan.

An official in the Fees Office questioned the claim and Mr Hoyle's wife, Catherine, who works in his Chorley office, admitted an error had been made.

The MP's second home claims were then docked by 108.16 the following month.

Mr Hoyle told the Evening Post: "As soon as we noticed, it was paid back immediately. It was one mistake on one month and it was paid back."

Mistake

Mr Hoyle says that he had provided a "big deposit" for the property out of his own pocket and recently spent a lot of money in renegotiating the property's leasehold.

He stressed that – except for the month where a mistake was made – he has not claimed for the interest payments on the second mortgage.

"I do not claim off the taxpayer," he said.

Of Mr Hoyle's expenses seen by the Lancashire Evening Post, only a claim of 331.50 for light fittings and the 550 coffee tables had receipts provided.

Claims in the file without receipts included a 40 set-top box to allow his TV to pick up digital channels, 90 for replacement telephones, 85 for lamps and shades and 278 for a bathroom to be painted.

The Commons Fees Office sent back the expense claims to every MP for them to be checked and for addresses and bank details to be blacked out.

Mr Hoyle said he does not understand why so few receipts have been sent back to him and believes the information obtained by the Daily Telegraph includes more receipts relating to his claims.

Mr Hoyle routinely claims for food, with claims ranging from 150 to 300 a month. The limit is 400 a month.

What Lancashire MPS claimed...or didn't claim - see Tuesday's Lancashire Evening Post

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