One of the many rent-swappers revealed last month was Labour MP Linda Riordan. She claimed £1,473-a-month from the taxpayer to rent a London flat in spite of the fact that she rented her own London property to parliamentary colleague Iain McKenzie. At the time McKenzie claimed that he had no idea that his landlady was a Labour MP, absolving himself of all responsibility and ending the arrangement, apparently, as soon as he found out.
However, documents released by IPSA last night show that the payment for McKenzie’s rent was not to a holding company or estate agent like many of his colleagues, but instead straight to the landlord: Linda Riordan. So did McKenzie mislead us with his previous statement?
McKenzie has now admitted to Guido that he saw Riordan’s name on the lease document, but, and it’s a very big but, he didn’t realise his landlord was an MP because he had never heard of Linda Riordan before in his life:
“Payment was direct by IPSA, they advised they deal direct with Estate agent, the reason I used them. I signed the lease document, on it was landlord Linda – no indication of her employment. As I was only elected three months I did not connect the name, truth is I still do not know all MPs.”
Guido is sceptical, though in truth he’d never heard of her before all this either…