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MP owns up: I put shortbread on expenses

PUBLISHED: 15:23 14 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:11 07 September 2010

Frank Dobson

Frank Dobson

LABOUR MP Frank Dobson has put his hands up about a tin of shortbread on his expenses, even though it emerges the taxpayer did not pay for it. Mr Dobson, like other MPs, has been handed back his expenses to scrutinise in the wake of revelations about poli

LABOUR MP Frank Dobson has put his hands up about a tin of shortbread on his expenses, even though it emerges the taxpayer did not pay for it.

Mr Dobson, like other MPs, has been handed back his expenses to scrutinise in the wake of revelations about politicians' claims.

He admits the errant biscuit receipt shocked him when going through his paperwork but he was relieved to find it had slipped in, even though it had been given to him for free.

"The only thing I came across was a receipt for small office equipment which also said a tin of shortbread," Mr Dobson told the Ham&High.

"I thought, 'Oh God, we haven't been buying tins of shortbread' but I looked at the money column and there was nothing paid. It must have been that the company who supplied the office equipment supplied us with a free tin."

Though the MP for Holborn and St Pancras has not yet seen a copy of his 2006 claims, he does not think any shocks will emerge. And he has criticised MPs who claimed for outrageous expenses including a chandelier, private security guards and swimming pool repairs.

"Some of the things that have been revealed seem to me to be indefensible," said Mr Dobson. "Even if they are within the rules, people claiming them are either very greedy, out of touch or both."

Hampstead and Highgate MP Glenda Jackson has similarly announced she has nothing to hide. In her Ham&High column this week she says she will publish her claims on her website and happily send copies to constituents. She adds the scandal is "entirely" the fault of MPs.

Both MPs are ineligible for the second-home allowance, which has been at the centre of many of the scandals.

Karen Buck, Labour MP for Regent's Park and Kensington North, said: "I understand people who represent constituencies outside London have to have somewhere to stay in London and these bills have to be covered, but the idea taxpayers should pay for tennis courts and swimming pools is appalling."

Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, said: "I'm surprised a few colleagues thought some of the things they claimed for were okay because they weren't. Those that have done wrong should be punished."

The Ham&High revealed last month Rudi Vis, Labour MP for Finchley and Golders Green, claimed £23,083 in mortgage payments for a property in Suffolk. He owns a home in East Finchley where he and his family used to live but says he was forced to move to the country because his wife was unwell.


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