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Lichfield MP demands answers from Commons staff over expenses row

Michael Fabricant MP

Michael Fabricant MP

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.

Michael Fabricant MP's letter from Sir Thomas Legg (click for full size)

Michael Fabricant MP's letter from Sir Thomas Legg (click for full size)

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.

He explained:

“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.”

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

14 Comments

  1. Penny Thomas

    15th October, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Well done, Michael,. We never doubted that you would be cleared. It is a crying shame that this whole sorry affair has, for a time, apppeared to “tar with the same brush” you and other similarly upright MPs. Much more should be written about those who have not breached either the letter or the spirit of the rules so that voters can have confidence in them. I agree that the officials who paid out so many incorrect amounts, lost claim forms, etc. should be sacked and the whole system shold be reformed. This would never have been allowed in a private company. Please be assured that many Lichfield people are proud to have you as our MP and long may you continue to be so.

  2. Barry Scott

    15th October, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Good work Michael, nice to know your expenses are well within the rules – you’re certainly still working hard for Lichfield and ‘good value for money’!

  3. Class Crisis

    15th October, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Well done Micky, your ACA expenses are ok. I can’t imagine anyone outside the Westminster bubble with any capacity for critical thinking will see this as an end to the expenses scandal.

    As long as MP’s can claim for things such as digital cameras and mobile phone holders (claims not covered by this review) ordinary people will not be satisfied that anything has changed.

  4. johnthemon

    15th October, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Let’s keep this in its right perspective, Michael Fabricant has only done what he should have done, not claimed more expenses that he was entitled, nothing more and nothing less.

    What this has shown us though is the lack of integrity amongst some PM’s

  5. Class Crisis

    15th October, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    You seem confused John. This review has only been into allowances claimed for Additional Cost Allowances (ACA) which is :

    “The Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) reimburses Members of Parliament for expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred when staying overnight away from their main UK residence (referred to below as their main home) for the purpose of performing Parliamentary duties. This excludes expenses that have been incurred for purely personal or political purposes. ”

    The rest of MP’s expenses have not been covered by this review. Now you might well be happy that a man who WE pay £64k+ can also claim for a digital camera and a mobile phone holder (specific examples from Micky’s claim) but many people are not. He may well have done nothing wrong and he says as much himself but that would assume the rules are right. Again, many people think they are not.

  6. Unconcerned Citizen

    15th October, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    So as ClassCrisis and Rt Hon Mr Fabricants letter says – these recent revelations do not take into account any other ongoing investigations by The parliamentary Commisioner for standards, the Police or HM Revenue and Customs.

    so – its not over till the fat lady sings as they say.
    I think the general election should be put on hold until these witchhunts ahem – sorry – investigations are complete.
    We don’t want a string of By elections after the general election.

  7. johnthemon

    15th October, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Thank you CC / LB yes I was am confused, are you saying that MF is not home and dry yet?

  8. Michael Fabricant

    15th October, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I just love the generosity of spirit of Class Crisis. Bitterly disappointed that there was no bad news. No satisfying him, is there. I sort of imagine him as an Albert Steptoe type of character.

    Come on, Class Crisis. Get out into the world and get a life! And thank you Penny and all the others.

  9. Class Crisis

    15th October, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    No disappointment here Micky love quite the opposite. Your sneering smugness at your digital camera and other bits and pieces we’ve collectively bought for you shows you up for exactly what you are.

    Do you think any ordinary people have the generosity of spirit to be happy that you can get away with this? Do you think that only a week after your mate Osbourne was banging on about public sector pay freezes that your little gravy train of a fat salary and twee little items on expenses makes anyone anything other than sick to the back teeth of the lot you? Perhaps you should get out into the real world Micky.

  10. Class Crisis

    15th October, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    In answer to Johns question yes, our Micky is home and dry, the chances of him having to pay back any expenses are somewhere between none and ****all which is what was said by class crisis all along.

    Where this leaves parliament as an institution though is another question entirely. Does anyone apart from Micky and his mates think that it’s reasonable for MP’s to claim the kind of expenses they have? Take his digital camera as an example, any other person doing a job that required a camera could buy one and claim the cost back from their employer but if they left that job they wouldn’t be taking the camera with them, it wouldn’t be their personal property. This isn’t the case with the camera Micky has bought.

  11. johnthemon

    15th October, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you again CC / LB, I appreciate you for making things that much clearer, It was nice to see you didn’t rise to the bait “Albert Steptoe type” I thought that kind of comment was quite uncalled for.

  12. nonoftheabove

    8th November, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Hi Mr Fabricant, I congratulate you on your expenses result and commend you for standing up to be counted, but now you party has been forced to withdaw on the refrendum on Europe, i wondered if you would take the lead in telling the public about the implications and benifits of the Lisbon Treaty. We have not only not been allowed to vote on the treaty but have been kept in complete ignorance of the details of the treaty. and what it means to the British people. Is this a plot by politicians?.

  13. Michael Fabricant

    8th November, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    The promise was to hold a referendum on whether we sign up to the Lisbon Treaty. The Lib-Dems and Labour promised it too in their Party Manifestos. Labour are in Government yet signed up to the Treaty and broke their word on holding a referendum beforehand. Now we are in it, we clearly can’t have a referendum on whether we should enter it! As an alternative, we will say in our Manifesto that we intend to repatriate powers from Europe and maqke sure that in Government we won’t break our election promises and say that any further movement on powers to Europe will require a referendum to approve it first. I wrote an article for the Birmingham Post about the Treaty back in September and among other things said this:- With Angela Merkel protecting GM automotive jobs in Germany while Gordon Brown can just wring his hands, the Lisbon Treaty has particular resonance in the West Midlands. Any action that Brown could have taken to preserve our remaining car manufacturing sector would be stripped away by this further step into European integration. Unilateral action – such as the support of Jaguar-LandRover production in the midlands – would be virtually impossible.

    The most sickening betrayal comes not from Europe, but from Downing Street itself. Labour’s promise in its election manifesto to hold a referendum on whether to ratify this treaty has been calculatingly forgotten. Gordon Brown – snubbed by President Obama – knows he would be snubbed further by the British people.

    And if Ireland votes ‘Yes’ on Friday? What happens then? Well, it is possible that the Czech Republic will hold out on ratifying Lisbon until after the next British election. They know that if the Conservatives win, there will be a referendum and Cameron, unlike Brown, will not renege on his promise.

    So why should Britain say ‘No’ to this Treaty? It takes several further steps to a United States of Europe and shifts sovereignty away from Britain and to Brussels. How then will an effective British Prime Minister defend British jobs? An unelected EU President will control over 3,500 civil servants in Brussels; for the first time an EU Foreign Minister will be appointed and foreign policy will move to Brussels; the EU can unilaterally create further powers for itself at the expense of national governments without any future need for the agreement of those national governments; and national vetoes in 60 areas including energy, transport, employment law, and foreign affairs will all be abolished enabling Brussels to make these decisions over the heads of our elected Governments. And all this will be controlled by a body whose own auditors have refused for the last 14 years to certify their accounts because of corruption and incompetence.

    When in the past Britain’s national economic interests have conflicted with those of mainland Europe, we have gone our own way. No longer under Lisbon. What then the price of manufacturing jobs in the West Midlands?

  14. nonoftheabove

    8th November, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I aoppreciate the explanation but my question was, why is it that no one is explaining to the public EXACTLY what the Lisbon Treaty offers to the UK and the Uk people. Many people are certainly ignorant of what exactly we have signed up for. It would be ideal for a man of your charactor to make it a project to inform the people. It would appear at the moment that there is an air of secrecy about the Lisbon Treaty