Cameron to appear before Tory expenses panel

By staff

David Cameron will appear before the scrutiny panel his party set up to examine MPs facing questions over the ongoing allowances crisis.

The Conservative leader insisted last night his behaviour had been “very reasonable” after it was suggested he could have saved taxpayers £22,000.

In 2001 Mr Cameron bought a second home in his constituency for £350,000 and began claiming over £20,000 a year from the public purse on its interest-only mortgage.

Soon afterwards he paid off £75,000 from the mortgage on his London home. Experts have suggested he could have used the money to reduce his interest on his constituency home in Witney.

“I think what I did was very reasonable. First, because I was actually paying out more in interest for my mortgage than I was claiming,” he said.

“Second, when I did pay down the mortgage, I was able to claim for some basic and standard bills, like heating and lighting and water.”

Mr Cameron said he was happy to put himself before the scrutiny panel and added it would look beyond the existing parliamentary rules to assess whether their spirit had been broken.

Labour MP John Mann remained unconvinced, however.

He said: “People will find it hard to believe that Mr Cameron’s decision to arrange his finances so that all of his mortgage debt was on a property funded by parliamentary allowances meant no extra cost to the taxpayer, as compared to continuing to share the debt between two properties.”