Conservative MPs forced to publish expenses online

Conservative MPs will be forced to publish their expenses online, as the scandal over “excessive” claims deepens.

Tory leader David Cameron last night ordered 11 of his top MPs to pay back more than £34,000 in claims, and told staff they will be banned from claiming for furniture, food and household goods until a new expenses system has been set up.

To create transparency, Conservative MPs will also be made to provide details online of any claims they make.

Tom Flanagan, employment partner at Pinsent Masons, says the duties of MPs in relation to their expenses can be compared with private sector company directors. Both have overriding duties which transcend the “spirit and letter” of any particular rules.

Cameron said it was “time for MPs to start setting an example” and his new rules will have effect until the review into MPs pay and expenses by Christopher Kelly MP has been completed.

He said: “If [Conservative MPs] had not paid back what they should not have claimed, they would not have been in the shadow Cabinet. They would have been sacked, that’s quite clear.”

Cameron has also established an independent scrutiny committee to investigate expense claims made by backbench Tory MPs, and the practice of ‘flipping’ by MPs – switching the designation of their first and second homes to maximise expense claims – will be banned.

Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George is today facing questions over his claims for a £300,000 London flat used by his student daughter.

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