MP's pledge to publish expenses

A SUFFOLK MP who became embroiled in the expenses scandal has pledged to publish details of every penny he claims in the future.

Laurence Cawley

A SUFFOLK MP who became embroiled in the expenses scandal has pledged to publish details of every penny he claims in the future.

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley hit the headlines last week after it emerged he had claimed �1,674 for a sofa and �2,175 for a 46in Sony widescreen television, bought from Harrods in London. The Commons authorities reduced the claim for the TV because it exceeded guideline figures of �750 issued to MPs.

But in an open letter to his constituents, Mr Ruffley has told he understands public anger and called for the current expenses system to be scrapped “as soon as possible”.

Responding to suggestions that he “flipped” homes, he said he had transferred his main home from Suffolk to London in 2007 because he was “spending more time there”.

“I can assure you I have never 'flipped' my second home in order to sell any property to make a gain and I have never avoided paying capital gains tax.

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“I had to change my designation because if I had not I would have been deceiving people. People must make their own minds up about my actions on the basis of the facts. To me, nothing matters more than the good opinion of my constituents, whom I try hard to serve to the best of my ability.”

He said he understood the “very grave public concern about the MPs' expenses system” and pledged to publish every one of his expenses regardless of what new Parliamentary rules are brought in.

“The Commons authorities will very soon finalise the receipts and claims for all MPs for the past four years. I pledge to publish those receipts and claims on my website so that local people in my Bury St Edmunds constituency can see everything for themselves.

“Regardless of what new Parliamentary rules are put in place, I will publish all of my expenses in future on my website so that you can see right down to the last penny what I am costing you.

“I really do understand why people have lost faith in politics and I take my share of responsibility for that.”