Norfolk MP plays down new parliamentary expenses claims

A Norfolk MP's name was included on a list of politicians published yesterday who rent out a flat they own in London, whilst also claiming for accommodation in the capital from parliamentary expenses.

The list, published by the Daily Telegraph, included some MPs that were said to be renting flats to other MPS, raising questions about how public money was being used through the expenses system.

After seeing his name on the list, Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman told the Eastern Daily Press that he does not, and never has, rented a flat to or from another MP.

He said: 'Abuse of the expenses system by MPs is wrong and the public have every right to expect, and get, total transparency.

'I believe that the public and the media must have access to all the information about their MP's expense claims necessary for them to know how much public money their MP is claiming, what it is being spent on and whether anyone is profiting from the arrangement.'

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Mr Freeman said he did not believe the House of Commons should try and restrict access to any expenses information.

Last week it emerged that Commons Speaker John Bercow had attempted to prevent the new regulator, set up in the wake of the expenses scandal, from disclosing the identities of MPs' landlords, which would have allowed the public to work out which MPs were renting to each other.

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Mr Freeman said: 'In my own case, as one of the new MPs elected in 2010 and not involved in the last Parliament's scandal, I take the repair of public trust in Parliament very seriously, and do everything I can to both keep my expenses as low as possible and be transparent.'

He added: 'I keep my accommodation expense claim as low as possible, only 20pc of the allowed amount, by renting a single bedroom in London for the nights I need to be there when Parliament is sitting.

'My wife and I bought a flat in London in 2000, our first home, which has been rented out since 2004, for which we've never sought or received any public funding. We have lived in Norfolk since I became a candidate in 2007.'

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