Peter Luff was one of the worst expense troughers – his expensive tastes demands from the taxpayers last time around included a £625 china service, £1,583 on dining room table, £500 for Aga servicing, £809.91 for a TV and another china set for £367 a few years later. In short he was one of the worst troughers caught in 2009 to survive the 2010 election.
He has responded to revelations that he is, surprise-surprise, a rent-swapper with a David Laws style defence that the taxpayer would have saved money if he had broken the rules rather than merely gamed the system. In the interests of fairness Guido reproduces his argument in full:
“The new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) expenses scheme did not allow MPs to claim the cost of mortgage interest. I could not, therefore, afford to live in my London flat and I had no choice but to sell it or to rent it out. Having only recently purchased it, I chose to rent it out and this information has been in the public domain for two years, it having been properly declared in the Register of Members’ Interests.
IPSA specified that when MPs are away from home they must live in rented property or stay in a hotel. When I am in London, I now therefore live in a rented flat. This is not my preference – I would have preferred to continue to live in the flat I own, but IPSA’s well-meaning rules designed to safeguard the taxpayers’ interests and promote transparency oblige me to do so. Ironically, the costs to the taxpayer would have been lower had I been allowed to continue with my previous arrangements.”
The obvious question that is unanswered is why a Tory MP on £65,738 thinks that he can’t afford to live in the Kennington flat we have so lavishly furnished with tea sets for him – the mortgage was just £657 a month in 2007 and would be considerably less today with lower interest rates. The average wage in London is less than half what Luff earns. Luff is standing down at the next election before the voters kick him out. Good riddance…