Equalities Minister Helen Grant has opened up a new front on the rent swapping saga: claiming for a flat despite owning a property in another constituency close enough to London, that if they represented they would be unable to claim for a second home.
We have had dozens of MPs owning property in London and renting another but the dishonest geography of this scam looks even more blatant. Last night’s Dispatches reported that Grant lives in a £1.8m house near her Maidstone seat and claims the maximum, to the penny, amount for taxpayer-funded flat in London.
Despite the commute from Maidstone being little over an hour, as a non-London MP, she is entitled to a second-home allowance. But Grant also owns a house in Reigate, less than twenty miles from Parliament. A taxi back there would be far cheaper than kitting her out with a luxury Thames-view pad. As for Ms Grant, her staff were more than happy to twist the knife on last night’s show. It seems she’s upset almost everyone. More later…
UPDATE: Grant also employs her husband Simon with taxpayers’ money as a senior parliamentary assistant.