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MP denies expenses access

PUBLISHED: 17:20 22 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:13 07 September 2010

Sanchez Manning DESPITE being one of the harshest critics of MPs exposed in the ongoing expenses scandal, Mark Field has refused to reveal details of his own claims to the Wood&Vale. Mr Field, Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster, turned d

Sanchez Manning

DESPITE being one of the harshest critics of MPs exposed in the ongoing expenses scandal, Mark Field has refused to reveal details of his own claims to the Wood&Vale.

Mr Field, Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster, turned down a request to see copies of his expenses receipts.

In contrast, his opposite number in Westminster Labour MP for Regent's Park and Kensington North, Karen Buck, invited the paper to view her claims before being asked.

Defending his decision Mr Field said: "The Daily Telegraph has all the details and I shall be happy to stand by my personal expenses when they choose to publish them.

"The problems, as has been seen, have been primarily caused by the misuse of the Additional Costs Allowance for a second home. I do not have a second home.

"I do not expect to have to grant journalists the opportunity to visit Parliament as part of an inquisition. Others may feel that such visits are appropriate. I do not."

Mr Field stressed that he did not have a second home and had nothing to hide, but some local constituents have expressed surprise at his position considering previous comments he has made to the press.

In March, he branded Jacqui Smith "a bit too stupid to be Home Secretary" after she denied breaking the expenses regulations by claiming a second home allowance while living with her sister.

In the same BBC interview he also revealed that a number of other Tory MPs were undermining Parliament by abusing the system.

In light of these remarks, Kay Konop, of Lauderdale Road, Maida Vale, said Mr Field had no right to keep evidence of his claims back until July.

"It's ok for him to say he won't be subjected to a lynch mob but if you've got nothing to hide what's the difference?" she said. "We're all his constituents so we're all his boss and we have a right to look at his expenses. Whether he considers it an 'inquisition' or not we are only trying to uncover the truth."

Ms Buck, who like Mr Field cannot claim for a second home, gave the Wood&Vale a full inspection of her expenses this week. It revealed that, unlike some other Labour Party members, she has refrained from abusing the system.

All her claims were related to either the running of her office or her constituency work.

One question was raised over a receipt for £100 on coffee and teabags, but it turned out it was to provide refreshments for her constituents at a coffee morning.

Asked whether she was angry that she could be tarred with the same brush as her less than upstanding colleagues, Ms Buck said: "I completely understand why there's public anger against some people who have been abusing the system and many others who have made personal gain even if they are operating within the rules.

"However, it's important to remember that many of us have not been making personal gain and in some cases, such as my own, are subsidising our parliamentary activities out of our salaries.


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