Brennan and Maude named in expenses row

Two MPs deny any wrongdoing

Charities minister Kevin Brennan and shadow Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude have both denied any wrongdoing after being singled out in The Daily Telegraph's ongoing exposé of MPs' expenses.

The Sunday Telegraph focused on Brennan for claiming for a number of household items, including a £450 widescreen television, as part of his second home allowance - even though they were delivered to his primary residence in his Cardiff constituency.

Brennan did not respond to questions from Third Sector, but he told The Sunday Telegraph the items were intended for his London flat.

"I always support local businesses when convenient. I can confirm that any items claimed, wherever purchased or delivered, were for exclusive use in my London home, and the publication of any inference to the contrary would be an unfounded smear."

He admitted that the items had been bought online from large national retailers, but he told the Western Mail yesterday that the larger items were stored in his garage in Cardiff before being "delivered to London at a convenient time using a local business".

He told the Western Mail: "I've rarely claimed the full expenses available either in Parliament or as a councillor, and I think most people accept that if the job requires you to live in two places it is right that reasonable costs should be met, or furnished accommodation provided."

Meanwhile, Francis Maude was singled out by The Daily Telegraph yesterday for claiming almost £35,000 in two years for mortgage interest payments on a London flat he had bought in 2006 despite owning a house a few hundred yards away.

Maude also claimed nearly £400 in expenses for moving his belongings to the flat from the house, which he now rents out.

He told the Telegraph that the flat was "properly designated" as his second home and enabled him to carry out his parliamentary duties. He said he had renovated and furnished it with his own money.

Maude also defended his failed attempt in 2004 to claim mortgage interest payments on a house in his Horsham constituency. He said: "The mortgage had been taken out specifically to buy our second home, which, at that time, was our Sussex house. My understanding of the rules at the time was that it was possible to claim for mortgage interest payments in these circumstances as proper expenses of having a second home. The fees office informed me the rules had changed and I fully accepted their judgement. Therefore, no claim was made."

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