Expenses breakdown: David Ruffley

ONE East Anglian MP singled out by the Sunday Telegraph for making exceptional claims was David Ruffley, the MP for Bury St Edmunds and shadow police minister who has a property in London and a home in the constituency.

ONE East Anglian MP singled out by the Sunday Telegraph for making exceptional claims was David Ruffley, the MP for Bury St Edmunds and shadow police minister who has a property in London and a home in the constituency.

The newspaper said he had claimed for his Suffolk home �1,674 for a sofa and �2,175 for a 46in Sony widescreen HD television, bought from Harrods in London.

The paper said the Commons authorities reduced the claim for the TV because it exceeded guideline figures of �750 issued to MPs.

Mr Ruffley yesterday issued the following statement: “Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market have excellent retailers and I buy from them most of the time.


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“But when I needed the items for my constituency rented property, I was busy in the House of Commons and I therefore ordered from a London department store. That was the only reason I was not able to support local retailers in my constituency on this occasion, and I offer them an unconditional apology for that.

“I fully accept that the TV and bed were expensive and that is why I paid out of my own pocket - not the taxpayer's - two-thirds of the cost of the TV and 70% of the bed.”

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Mr Ruffley said: “I share the grave public concern and anger about the MPs' expenses system. The current system is destroying public confidence in politicians and it must be scrapped as soon as possible.

“I believe that the public have a right to know the details of MPs' expenses. It is therefore completely untrue to say that I voted on David McLean's Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill to stop disclosure. I made it clear at the time that I voted for that Bill solely to protect the privacy of my constituents' personal circumstances contained in their letters to me as their MP.”

In 2007, when Mr Ruffley joined David Cameron's shadow ministerial team, he changed his main home from his constituency property to his London flat for the purposes of claiming the second home allowance.

“I was under a duty to designate London as my main home because my Shadow Ministerial duties meant that I was spending much more time in London. This resulted in me actually claiming less from the taxpayer, not more. That is why in 2006-7 I was 461st out of 645 MPs for claiming the second home allowance. In 2007-8 I was 511th out of 645 MPs for claiming that allowance.”

EXPENSES PAID

2004-5

Mortgage payments or rent: �9,369.97

Service/maintenance: �11,532.03

Total: �20,902

2005-6

Mortgage payments or rent: �13,408.86

Service/maintenance: �3,413.58

Total: �16,822.44

2006-7

Mortgage payments or rent: �11,024.72

Service: �675.63

Cleaning: �80

Others: �5,241

Total: �17,021.35

2007-8

Mortgage payments or rent: �9,600

Utilities: �241.45

Council tax/rates: �1,552.92

Cleaning: �1,459.83

Service/maintenance: �272.30

Repairs/insurance/security: �258

Other: �375.5

Total: �13,760

OVERALL TOTAL: �68,505.79

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