Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MP Faces Inquiry over [Pounds Sterling]100k Claims; Tory Accused of Paying His Own Company with Taxpayers' Money for Three Years

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MP Faces Inquiry over [Pounds Sterling]100k Claims; Tory Accused of Paying His Own Company with Taxpayers' Money for Three Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

DaviD Cameron today threatened action against a Conservative mP who paid more than [pounds sterling]100,000 of public money into his own company.

David Wilshire, mP for Spelthorne in Surrey, set up a firm with his girlfriend and then paid it up to [pounds sterling]3,250 a month from his Commons allowances for office assistance and other services.

The disclosure of the arrangement, which was approved by officials from the Commons fees office, caused astonishment and fury at Westminster. it fuelled pressure for a wider official audit of mPs' expenses to cover their office costs allowance as well as the notorious claims for second homes.

mr Wilshire admitted that he and ann Palmer were the sole owners of moorlands research Services, which was paid [pounds sterling]105,500 over three years until 2008, according to the Telegraph Parliamentary expenses rules forbid mPs from entering into arrangements that "may give rise to an accusation" of making a personal gain from taxpayers' money.

mr Wilshire last night referred himself to the parliamentary Standards Commissioner, John Lyon, who will mount an inquiry. But that process could take several months.

mr Wilshire said today: "i am deeply hurt by the way in which the Daily Telegraph has reported on my expenses and disappointed that it has not published all of my response to their enquiries. my constituents are rightly entitled to the truth. i have therefore written to the Commissioner for Standards asking him to conduct an inquiry."

mr Cameron's spokesman said chief whip Patrick mcLoughlin was quizzing mr Wilshire and pledged: "This will be resolved either way long before the general election. The Standards Commissioner's in-tray cannot be used as an excuse to drag this out."

Labour mP John mann accused mr Cameron of dithering. "He said he would go through all this in his own internal audits," he said. "it shows how inconsistent he has been. He's dithering." Gordon Brown said: "There's got to be an inquiry into this. We have got to end the discredited old system." The Prime minister's spokesman admitted that the Legg review of mPs' second home claims was "imperfect". …

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