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Saturday, 3 January 2015

Expenses scandal :Labour Party MP made thousands letting flat to fellow Labour MP.

The Labour MP Linda Riordan who represents Halifax has made thousands of pounds renting out a flat in London to a fellow MP, while simultaneously claiming taxpayer funds to rent a second home for herself.

Ms Riordan, who represents Halifax, rents a flat to fellow Labour MP Iain McKenzie, who only joined Parliament in 2011.
Ms Riordan was said to have rented out her flat in London to Mr McKenzie for £1,560 a month. At the same time, she claimed £1,473 a month to rent another flat.
Dozens of MPs are renting out their London properties after changes to the rules meant they could not longer claim the cost of their mortgages.
Ms Riordan’s mortgage on the flat rented out to Mr McKenzie is just over £500 a month, meaning she is making up to £1,000 a month on the deal, it was claimed.
She bought the flat in 2006, shortly after she became an MP, for £300,000. She then claimed £35,000 from the taxpayer for its mortgage costs from 2007 to 2010.
She was also said to have claimed £1,310 for a sofabed, £220 for curtains and £1,936 for carpets.
Since August, MPs have only been allowed to claim rent for their second homes - up to £20,000 a year in London. If they claim in their constituencies, they can claim only £15,150 a month.
Mr McKenzie, who was elected after a by-election in Inverclyde, said he had checked with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) and been told the arrangement was within the rules.
However, he admitted that had he known before he rented the flat that his landlady was an MP, he probably would have moved elsewhere.
“You’ve got to apply the test of how it looks to the man in the street, regardless of whether it is above board or not,” he said.
Mr McKenzie does not profit from the arrangement. There are three more MPs renting to fellow MPs and Ipsa has refused to disclose their names.
Mrs Riordan also employs her partner as a senior researcher, with taxpayers paying his salary of up to £42,500 a year.

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