MP claims bedding plants on his expenses

HERTSMERE MP James Clappison used taxpayers' money to buy bedding plants for his second home, a newspaper has revealed. According to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Clappison purchased petunias, busy Lizzies and geraniums for the garden of his �375,000 semi-detach

HERTSMERE MP James Clappison used taxpayers' money to buy bedding plants for his second home, a newspaper has revealed.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Clappison purchased petunias, busy Lizzies and geraniums for the garden of his �375,000 semi-detached second home in St Albans.

As part of its ongoing expose into MPs' expenses, the newspaper also claimed he claimed �20 for a kitchen blender, �578 for a washing machine and �719 for a new bed.

Mr Clappison, the shadow work and pensions spokesman, is also said to have spent public money on a range of other expenses since 2001, including roof repairs, groceries and a TV.


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His main residence is a house in Leeds, which is worth about �360,000 and is registered in the name of his wife Helen.

Neither this house, nor his property in St Albans has a mortgage. The MP also owns 22 rented properties in Humberside and the ground of Patrington Cricket Club.

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The Potters Bar Edition was unable to contact Mr Clappison directly this week.

But a statement on his website said he had voluntarily submitted his expenses claims to Parliament's fees office for review in April.

"They found that my claims were not only entirely within the rules but also within the spirit of the rules," he said.

"The only exception was one claim for �38.50 for bedding plants, which I immediately repaid.

"This was an honest mistake on my part."

He added: "My second home is the only home for which I have ever claimed.

"I have consistently had some of the lowest claims in the House of Commons, 480th and 536th respectively in the past two years."

Former barrister Mr Clappison has been Hertsmere MP since taking over the seat from former Conservative cabinet minister Cecil Parkinson in 1992.

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