Expenses Tory Laing backed by local party

By politics.co.uk staff

Shadow justice minister Eleanor Laing will stand again at the next general election, after being overwhelmingly backed by her local party.

Officials in her constituency Epping Forest claimed 83 per cent of the votes cast at a selection meeting held last night backed her candidacy.

Ms Laing had paid back £25,000 in a “voluntary gesture” after it emerged she had made significant financial gains from properties bought with taxpayers’ money.

She denied last night’s vote was a “whitewash”.

“I’ve been scrutinised,” she said. “I have been questioned and I have answered all the questions and my critics accept that.”

The executive council of Epping Forest Conservative Association had already twice backed Ms Laing earlier this year.

Ms Laing avoided £180,000 of capital gains tax payments by designating two Westminster flats she paid for her main home, despite claiming second home allowance for them from parliamentary authorities.

She did not break any rules, as confirmed by expenses auditor Sir Thomas Legg earlier this month.

Ms Laing was first elected to parliament in 1997.