MP Foster to pay back £4,000
Bath MP Don Foster is to pay back just over £4,000 in expenses claimed in connection with the mortgage on his London flat.
The 62-year-old Liberal Democrat has been told by former civil servant Sir Thomas Legg that an arrangement cleared by the Commons authorities in 2005 was unacceptable.
The MP is one of many who have been asked to repay expenses by Sir Thomas, who has audited claims made since 2004.
In a statement, Mr Foster said: "In 2005, I sought and received permission from the Fees Office of the House of Commons to change the arrangements on the mortgage on my one-bedroom London flat.
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"However, Sir Thomas Legg has now claimed that the Fees Office was wrong to inform me that that change was acceptable.
"For the avoidance of doubt about the propriety of my actions, I have agreed to repay in full the effective increase in mortgage interest payments of approximately £900 a year since that time."
The total he will be paying back will be £4,082.02.
Mr Foster has a former council flat in Pimlico, where in recent years he has also claimed for improvements to the bathroom.
His party leader Nick Clegg - who has paid back £910 in gardening costs this week - has asked all Liberal Democrat MPs to take Sir Thomas's requests on the chin.
Mr Clegg said: "We have got to move on. If we are going to be able to look voters in the eye at the next general election, we are going to have to clean up the whole system, repay the money Sir Thomas asks – where those requests are reasonable – and do the radical things, for instance taking MPs out of the property game altogether."