Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant believes “serious questions” must be asked of senior staff at the House of Commons in the wake of the expenses scandal.
His comments come after he broke his silence to admit that he had been cleared by Sir Thomas Legg’s review into expenses claims made by MPs.
And having been cleared of any wrongdoing, Mr Fabricant has called on others to be questioned on their actions. He explained:
“Serious questions have to be asked about the future of certain senior staff at the House of Commons. And given my clearance by Sir Thomas Legg, I feel entitled to ask them.
“A number of MPs from all parties have either been asked to provide receipts and other documentation missing from the House of Commons Department of Resources. Yet those MPs said they had filed that information with the Department when they made their original claim. If they had not done so, why were those MPs paid their expense claims in the first place? And if, as Legg as reported in a few instances, some MPs made totally improper claims under the rules that existed at the time, why were those claims paid at all?
“It seems that the officials at the very top of that Department have serious questions to answer. As a senior Party Whip, I serve on the Administration Committee of the House of Commons and I will be asking – in a personal capacity – that a full review now be conducted by the Committee into the overall management of the Department of Resources and into the role of senior management in this affair.”
The Lichfield MP had remained silent on the contents of his letter but has now revealed the contents of the correspondence.
In his letter to the Lichfield MP, Sir Thomas says:
“In your case, having examined the records in the light of my interpretation of the rules and standards in force at the time, I have not identified any payments made to you under the ACA during the review period which I consider call for any repayment or further supporting evidence to be provided by you. Accordingly, my conclusion is that no action is required from you in this matter.”
But Mr Fabricant admitted that waiting for the results of the review had been stressful.
“This is a huge relief. I have been cleared, but all MPs have been under considerable strain particularly given that, contrary to his letter, Sir Thomas Legg has applied rules retrospectively which were not in force at the time.
“I wondered whether I had unwittingly broken any new rules he might have put in place and this was very worrying. This whole matter has cast a huge shadow on the work of MPs and I have felt tainted by it. I felt my honesty was in question. Like many other decent hard working MPs of all political parties, I sometimes asked myself over the summer break whether it was all worth it. But I have always been buoyed up by the warmth and support of friends and strangers in the constituency.
“This affair has been a huge distraction and I hope now that new rules will be put in place which are crystal clear and transparent to all. I must say that David (Cameron) – who himself has been asked by Legg to repay a small sum of money – has lead the way by getting MPs to put their expense claims on-line as they are claimed. I hope that the House of Commons will adopt this for MPs of all parties.”