Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Smith on Rack for Claiming [Pounds Sterling]116,000 Expenses on Family Home; Family Ties: Jacqui Smith, Left, Lives with Her Sister Sara, above, at Her House in South London, below, during the Week

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Smith on Rack for Claiming [Pounds Sterling]116,000 Expenses on Family Home; Family Ties: Jacqui Smith, Left, Lives with Her Sister Sara, above, at Her House in South London, below, during the Week

Article excerpt

Byline: NICHOLAS CECIL

DAVID CAMERON today increased the pressure on Home Secretary Jacqui Smith for claiming taxpayers' cash for her family home..

The Tory leader said Ms Smith may have some "questions" to answer over her arrangements for claiming [pounds sterling]116,000 over six years.

The Home Secretary has been engulfed in controversy after it emerged she has declared a house in London that she shares with her sister as her main residence. This allows her to claim up to [pounds sterling]24,000 a year for a second home in Worcestershire where her husband and children live.

Ms Smith insists that she has not broken any Commons rules. But she could face an investigation by the parliamentary watchdog after a campaign group reportedly made a complaint about her use of the funds.

Mr Cameron questioned the conduct of the Home Secretary, whose post comes with a [pounds sterling]142,000 salary. He said: "She may have some questions to answer when you look at the Green Book and all the rules that govern it.

There are rules and you have to meet both the letter and the spirit and explain in a reasonable way 'this is the arrangement I have and I think it's a reasonable one'." MPs in the Cabinet have claimed more than [pounds sterling]2 million over the past six years for second homes and they are split over which property they treat as their main residence. Children's Secretary Ed Balls and his wife Yvette Cooper treat their Yorkshire constituency home as their main residence, allowing them to use taxpayers' money to pay for a [pounds sterling]600,000 second home in the capital.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears and Universities Secretary John Denham also declare their constituency home as their main home.

However, Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Health Secretary Alan Johnson have their main home in London, with the latter stressing that he rents a "modest" flat in Hull. …

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