Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I'd Love to Live Here for [Pounds Sterling]69 a Week, Says Labour MP Allowed into Pushy Palace

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I'd Love to Live Here for [Pounds Sterling]69 a Week, Says Labour MP Allowed into Pushy Palace

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS MILLAR

CLASS WAR came to Kensington Palace this afternoon when MPs inspected the royal residence and said that they were astonished at the splendour on show.

MPs from the Commons Public Accounts Committee were shown around but not allowed into any of the royal areas after Princess Michael of Kent apparently refused them access.

The banned MPs emerged from a two-hour tour of the palace branding the Kents' peppercorn rent "scandalous" - and demanding they move out.

Ian Davidson, MP for Glasgow Pollock, said: "The Kents should do the decent thing and move to a house that they pay for themselves.

Prince Michael and his wife undertake no public duties whatsoever, yet live here at a peppercorn rent."

Speaking in front of the palace gates, he said: "What we have discovered is an outrage. It's indefensible. When the committee makes their recommendations, I think it's reasonable to expect that some action will be taken."

Alan Williams, MP for Swansea West, said: "Prince Michael pays the princely sum of [pound]69 per week. To call it a scandal is an understatement when you think of the anguish about public service sector workers in London who cannot afford to live even in tiny apartments.

"What Prince Michael pays is to cover gas and electricity.

It's about time they moved."

The MP pointed out a nearby street, known by locals as "millionaires' row", saying: "Those four-bedroom houses beyond the perimeter of the palace would be rented for about [pound]98,000 per year.

"The most anybody is paying in Kensington Palace is Sir Michael Peat, who pays

about [pound]45,000 a year, and that is half what it should be."

Sir Michael, keeper of the privy purse, who oversees royal finances, had promised the MPs that he would reduce a [pound]200,000 shortfall in the palace budget, currently paid for by the taxpayer.

But Mr Williams said: "The [pound]200,000 deficit is irrelevant.

It's all about the value of the property and what is and is not being paid."

Mr Davidson called promises by the Queen to move all royals from the palace over forthcoming years "a smokescreen". …

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