Suffolk MP claims for bedroom furniture

SUFFOLK MP David Ruffley has today come under fire for his parliamentary expenses.

BURY St Edmunds' MP David Ruffley is the latest in a long line of politicians to face backlash over his expenses claims.

The shadow home office minister is today defending his second-home spending and called for an 'urgent reform of the system'.

It is alleged Mr Ruffley 'flipped' his second home from London to his constituency before claiming back thousands for furniture and fittings, including a �1,674 sofa.

He was said to have been refused the full amount when he claimed for a �2,175 television from Harrods.

The MP has been further criticised for being amongst those who blocked the public release of parliamentary expense claims.

In defence, Mr Ruffley said: “My role as a Shadow Minister meant that as I was spending more time in London, I had a duty to make London my main home.

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“I want to stress that this resulted in me actually claiming less from the taxpayer, not more.”

He added he took an unfurnished let in Bury St Edmunds as my second home.

“I believe that most people would accept that I needed the basics to live there - a bed to sleep in, a sofa to sit on and a tv.

“I bought these items and asked the Fees Office to rule on a reasonable reimbursement. As a result I paid out of my own pocket two thirds of the cost of the tv and seventy percent of the cost of a bed.”

The Sunday Telegraph, which first broke the expenses scandal, said the bedroom items totalled �6,765, but Commons authorities insisted the MP meet �4,748 of the cost.

Mr Ruffley added: “Last year I was in the lowest spending twenty percent of MPs for the second homes allowance.

“I understand and share the grave public concern about MPs' expenses. The system needs urgent reform.”

Last week, it was revealed Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer had claimed more than �9,000 a year for gardening at his country home in a village near Debenham.

He is said to have declared expenses totalling hundreds of pounds to pay for the control of wildlife, including a bill for �100 to rid his lawn of moles.

- The expense claims of all Suffolk and north Essex MPs will be revealed in full by the EADT later this week.