MP Barbara Follett’s ‘regret’ over highest expense claim

MP Barbara Follett has been told to pay back more than �42,000 following the publication of Sir Thomas Legg’s report into members’ expense claims – the highest of any politician.

The Labour MP for Stevenage, whose constituency includes Knebworth, Codicote and Datchworth, has been asked to repay �42, 458.21 for claims made between April 2004 and November 2008.

Most of the money – �34,776.30 – was claimed for mobile security patrols around her second home in London, with a further �8,908.36 being spent on six telephone lines at the same address. She will have to repay half of the phone claims, �4,454.18, which Sir Thomas’ report described as “excessive”.

She also claimed �2,812.95 for household insurance for fine art, �193.78 for pest control and �221 for boiler insurance.

Having already repaid �32,976.17, the total amount Mrs Follett will now have to repay is �9,482.04.

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Mrs Follett said in a statement: “This has been a sad and sorry episode in Britain’s political life which I deeply regret.

“I have repaid the total amount in full and am pleased that this matter has now been resolved. I claimed these amounts in good faith in accordance with the rules at the time. But as an independent review has now shown these to be vague and deeply flawed, I feel it is only right to repay them.”

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