MP Barbara Follett repays security expenses

MP Barbara Follett has repaid nearly �25,000 of taxpayers money she claimed for security patrols at her second home in London. Tourism minister Mrs Follett, whose Stevenage constituency includes Knebworth, Codicote and Datchworth

MP Barbara Follett has repaid nearly �25,000 of taxpayers' money she claimed for security patrols at her second home in London.

Tourism minister Mrs Follett, whose Stevenage constituency includes Knebworth, Codicote and Datchworth, took the decision after feedback from constituents.

The 66-year-old came under fire after it emerged she claimed the money to pay for patrols, as well as the maintenance of a CCTV system and burglar alarm at her Soho townhouse.

She has also paid back the �460.62 she claimed from the House of Commons Fees Office for the cost of repairing and cleaning a child's rug.


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In a statement to the Welwyn & Hatfield Times, Mrs Follett, who lives in Old Knebworth, said she decided to return the sums after "careful consideration" of the letters and feedback she had received.

She said: "The Fees Office did not ask me to do this, nor did they feel that it was necessary for me to do this, but some of my constituents, whose opinion I value and respect, did.

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"The fact these expenses were claimed in accordance with the rules and the spirit of the Green Book did not matter to them and I felt the only way to make it quite clear I have never wanted to profit in any way at all from my role as their MP was to pay these particular expenses back."

She added: "I will be sending a letter to each of my constituents, at my own expense, about these claims, before Parliament recesses in July."

Mrs Follett, wife of millionaire author Ken, claimed security costs at her second home after being mugged twice and followed by a stalker.

She also feared she could be targeted by terrorists after opposing apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s.

But Stephen McPartland, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Stevenage, said many of Mrs Follett's constituents were "angry" she had claimed this money and added: "If I was elected, I would not have a second home in London.

"I work in London already and I commute in every day.

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