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Cheshire MPs told to pay back more than £17,000 in expenses

CHESHIRE MPs have been asked to pay back more than £17,000 in expenses claims.

CHESHIRE MPs have been asked to pay back more than £17,000 in expenses claims.

Today (Thursday, February 4), Sir Thomas Legg’s commission ruled on the amount that MPs must repay from their second home expenses claims.

Altogether, Members of Parliament were told to repay £1.1m claimed between 2004 and 2008 after an audit of claims.

Details have also been published of the appeals against Sir Thomas’ decisions and which of them have been successful.

The outgoing MP for Weaver Vale, Mike Hall – who this week announced he would stand down at the next election through illness – failed in his bid to have a bill of £12,639.28 reduced.

Chester MP Christine Russell did not appeal against a demand that she repay £4,127.53 and Eddisbury MP Stephen O’Brien will not appeal the £115 he was asked to pay back.

Andrew Miller, Ellesmere Port and Neston MP, successfully appealed against the £316 he was asked to pay back and had the figure reduced by £126.74.

He agreed to repay £189 following an oversight over the original sum.

Mr Miller and Mr Hall were two of 70 MPs who appealed against independent auditor Sir Thomas Legg’s demand for 300 MPs to repay expenses.

He compiled a list of those who may have made ‘improper’ claims and ask that they repay the money.

The report, to be published on Thursday, is sure to reignite the expenses debate.

But Mr Miller, who already paid back nearly £200, is among many who refused, saying he has done nothing wrong.

And after appealing to former judge Paul Kennedy, who all MPs were invited to take up their case with, he says he has been vindicated.

Mr Miller said: “The Legg review spotted an arithmetic error on a claim in 2004, caused by a double entry, that both I and the Parliamentary authorities missed at the time.

“Ironically, given the fact the papers were all in the public domain, nobody else spotted the error either.

“Sir Thomas himself got the figure wrong which had the effect of me being asked to refund more than the amount in question. It was that point upon which I appealed and my figures have been agreed by Sir Paul Kennedy.

“Therefore the sum I refunded before the Kennedy appeal, of £189.26, closes the matter entirely to my satisfaction.”

 

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