Legg issues his harshest letter

By politics.co.uk staff

Tory MP Bernard Jenkins could be forced to pay back £63,250 in expenses after receiving the most severe letter so far from auditor Sir Thomas Legg.

Mr Jenkins had claimed the expenses to rent a property from his sister-in-law in his constituency, but later insisted he was not been informed of a change in the rules on renting from family in 2006.

He said the Fees Office was aware of the arrangement and has agreed to pay the money back if Sir Thomas insists. He is questioning the amount, however.

The figure is far higher than previous letters, which had focused primarily on gardening and cleaning costs.

Mr Jenkin told his local newspaper, the East Anglian Daily Times: “I have pointed out that the House of Commons Fees Office was fully aware from the outset that this was a family arrangement.

“I have sent Sir Thomas copies of the letters and emails which show I sought to keep within the letter and spirit of the rules at all times.

“No question has been raised about my honesty, integrity or openness and I have reiterated to him that I will pay back whatever is finally recommended at the end of the process.”

About 600 MPs have so far received letters from the former civil servant, with many complaining about the retrospective nature of the demands.