Update: Julia Goldsworthy is to return £1005 claimed on that darned chair. Quite right too! It's an appalling amount of money to claim for a chair!
Julia Goldsworthy has responded to the Telegraph report this morning here:
RESPONSE TO TELEGRAPH ARTICLE
12.00.00pm BST (GMT +0100) Wed 13th May 2009
In its report today, the Daily Telegraph has focused on some claims I made under the MPs expenses scheme. It does not report that:
1. I opposed attempts by Conservative and Labour MPs to exempt themselves from the Freedom of Information Act , and I have consistently called for reform of the allowances system.
2. I have been publishing my quarterly expenses on my website since last July. I informed my constituents of this fact by writing to them about it in a leaflet, which my local party sent out to every constituent.
3. I have never sought to use the expenses system to make financial gain for myself or anybody else.
4. I moved flats because my existing property was shared with my sister who was getting married. The costs for which I sought reimbursement for were explicitly related to my move to a one bedroom flat . The property was unfurnished and so I purchased furnishings that could be delivered on the date I moved in.
5. I did not claim the full cost of items such as the television and living room chair (which incidentally is not leather), and purchased other items that I did not claim for at all
6. My food claims were based on calculating the number of days that I spend away from home either in Parliament or travelling.
I still believe there is a need for total transparency in MPs expenses - which is why I am more than happy to answer any questions. The system needs to change fundamentally - not just by requiring MPs to enclose receipts for all expenditure, but by ensuring that MPs can no long play the property market to make capital gains. This means ending the payment of mortgage interest and ensuring that capital gains made at taxpayer expense are returned to the taxpayer . These are the proposals that Nick Clegg has put forward, which I support. Only then can people begin to have confidence in the system.