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MP reveals all to local paper in expenses row

A middle-ranking government minister has revealed four years’ worth of expenses to his local paper as the row over MPs’ expenses rumbles on.

Kevan Jones, Armed Forces Minister and Labour MP for Durham North, told The Northern Echo he was baring all to counter the rising tide of public fury about expenses.

Sadly for The Echo’s lobby correspondent Rob Merrick there was very little salacious or sensational claims.

Receipts ranged from gas bills to curtains and stamp duty on a second home purchase. He even claimed less money back for furniture items than he actually paid.

Mr Jones told The Echo: “The public should see it all – it’s their money.

“There is no doubt that a lot of damage is being done to the reputation of Parliament and of all political parties.

“These expenses are going to be in the public domain anyway, so I thought it was important that local people should also see them.

“The majority of the claims are for running an office. I do have a second home in London, but I put £30,000 of my own money into it and I have not claimed the maximum for it.

“I have bought curtains and a carpet, but I didn’t claim the full amount for those items – only for what I thought was reasonable.”

Commenting on Mr Jones’ decision, Northern Echo editor Peter Barron blogged: “He takes the view that members of the public are entitled to know what he has claimed, so why wait for enforced publication?

“It seems to me that other MPs should follow suit if they believe have nothing to hide.

“Complete transparency is the only way to avoid the unfairness of all MPs being tarred with the same brush.”

The House of Commons Commission has rejected calls for the immediate release of expenses receipts but has said it will attempt to speed up their publication which is currently due for July.

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  • Comments

    Chris Gaynor (13/05/2009 09:17:18)
    One factual inaccuracy in your copy. It’s not ‘their’ money, it’s ‘our’ money. In terms of what the MP is doing, it doesn’t detract from the fact that this system needs a complete clean up. Just because they decide to reveal all doesn’t mean the public are going to forgive and forget very easily. I wish the issue of MPs and public sector pensions would be raised a bit more.

    Richard II (13/05/2009 10:47:57)
    Mr Gaynor: Your assertion of a factual error is, in fact, an error. An MP is speaking so for one thing, it’s a quote, so even if he uses an incorrect word, good journalism is verbatim reporting of quotes. Secondly, as an MP speaking, his words are from his perspective, so it IS ‘their’ money, ie the taxpayer…
    If you’ve got plenty to say, you might want to check it’s actually worth saying before you bother in future…

    Andy (13/05/2009 11:03:10)
    Richard II: Clearly Chris was referring to the final sentence of the piece. Your assertion of an error in Chris’ assertion of a factual error is, in fact, an error.

    OldHack (13/05/2009 12:28:01)
    As Alaxander Pope might say: “Two errors is to be human…”
    Ho, Ho, Ho…..

    Old Hack (13/05/2009 12:29:40)
    Yes I know it’s Alexander…. just before anyone writes…

    Chris Youett (13/05/2009 14:13:44)
    Before we have any more emails about accuracy, could I point out that the Armed Services Minister is Bob Ainsworth (Lab, Coventry NE). He also receives the pay that goes with the job.