Labour MP Jim Murphy caught up in new expenses row

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2079

  By Martin Kelly
 
Scottish Labour MP Jim Murphy is one of 27 MPs caught up in a new expenses scandal that threatens to re-ignite the controversy over public cash claimed by Westminster politicians.
 
According to reports, the MP for East Renfrewshire is among those listed as raking in income by letting out their London properties while claiming up to £20,000 a year to rent in the city.

The Labour MP, and former Secretary of State for Scotland who is now Labour’s Shadow Defence spokesman, finds himself embroiled in the new expenses scandal after his name was uncovered by researchers working for the Daily Telegraph.

The speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, had written to the expenses regulator Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) expressing “security concerns” and warning him not to release documents which identified the landlords of MPs who claim rent expenses.

However, using partial information released by Ipsa, the paper discovered that Murphy was among many MPs who are profiting from a loophole that allows them to lease out their private property for lucrative rents whilst claiming their own rental costs.

The move does not break new rules which were introduced to prevent MPs from claiming mortgage interest payments on homes they purchased.  However, the revelations are bound to anger members of the public after the previous scandal led to some MPs being sent to prison.

It has emerged that four MPs are currently renting from four other MPs.  In one situation, according to the Daily Mail, Linda Riordan, the Labour MP for Halifax, lets her London flat to fellow Labour MP Iain McKenzie for £18,720 a year.

In the last expenses scandal, Mr Murphy emerged unscathed despite a list of eye opening expense claims.

Mr Murphy, who became Secretary Of State for Scotland in 2008, claimed almost £2000 of public cash in order to pay private accountants to handle his tax returns.

Expenses documents made available show that the East Renfrewshire Labour MP has claimed over £1 million since 2001/2.  Murphy’s claims in 2007/8 included food (£3900) and petty cash (£2284.15), claims for which no receipts were required.

He also claimed £249 for a TV set and a further £99 for a TV stand; £1762.50 of taxpayers money paid for Murphy’s website whilst further claims included Labour party adverts in the local press and a new bathroom costing £4884.

So great were Murphy’s expenses in 2007/8 that he was forced to pay back £3499 of the bathroom costs.

Labour’s Secretary of State for Scotland also designated his constituency home in Glasgow as his second home, for which he claimed £780 per month in mortgage interest payments in 2007-08.  His total claims under the additional costs allowance between 2004 and 2008 came to £87,086.

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39 COMMENTS

  1. Why pick on Jim he’s a..hmmm!..socialist?

    Just end their dependence in the trough, liberate all the Scottish MP’s in 2014.

    Vote for Independence and bring them all home to face the music.

  2. No morals, No sense, No use.

    I dont care if it legaly does not break their expenses rules, it is nothing more than theft from the taxpayer.
    They have a property to stay in, in London and instead of that they rent a property that we proberly will pay for, and then rent out their own property to get the rents for themselfs, and if they rent to another MP we the taxpayer will be paying twice. Im I correct or not ?

    [b]Vote YES to rid ourselves of Westminster thieving trash. [/b]

  3. Just seen the story that Gideon Osborne has just been caught on a train to London sitting in first class seat with a standard class ticket. He refused to move, but an aide said he wouldn’t pay for an upgrade.

    However, he eventually paid £160 to stay in first class rather than sit with the plebs.

    I wonder how often he has done that.

  4. Now look here my fellow Nats. Lying is a tedious business and our Jim can and does Lie for Britain, so give the poor man a break!

    If he spends almost £5000 on a new Lavie it’s for the purposes of rest and relaxation. Do you want to work the poor man to death????………….Don’t answer that question……

    He’s a wonderful man and it’s a shame we’ll have to let him go after 2014 but then ye ca hae awthing kin ye?

    Back to reality. Excellent, high quality debate today on NATO membership. I wouldn’t have minded which way it went.

    Part of me wants no truck with wars or weapons of destruction mass or otherwise.

    The other part knows that accepting NATO Membership will almost certainly increase our vote in the Referendum which is what counts, because without Independence everything else is academic.

    VOTE YES

  5. Jim,Jim,Jim…….you really have been swallowed up by the cesspit of sleeze and corruption that is Westminster.Is it really worth it? The shame and disgrace you bring to yourself and your family is a heavy price to pay for the trappings of wealth you so clearly crave.

  6. Andrew Mitchell resigns over police comments row

    Mr Mitchell has been under pressure over the remarks for weeks

    He has quit as government chief whip after criticism for making rude remarks to police officers at the gates of Downing Street.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19922026
    ————————————-

    Plebs 1 : Tory boys 0

    Serves him right.

  7. Mr. Murphy – you have not broken the law. You will never face any legal challenge.

    However I have always considered the real test was being able to look at yourself in the mirror each morning without a sense of guilt having reviewed current behaviour. If you have manipulated the rules for personal gain and it doesn’t bother you, then all I can offer is pity.

    • Clootie – I could not agree more – my sentiments exactly -only better phrased.

      I wonder if the labour party are still proud of him ?

  8. “Murphy’s claims in 2007/8 included food (£3900) and petty cash (£2284.15), claims for which no receipts were required.”

    Isn’t it about (well past) time that receipts were required?

    • [quote name=”fynesider”]”Murphy’s claims in 2007/8 included food (£3900) and petty cash (£2284.15), claims for which no receipts were required.”

      Isn’t it about (well past) time that receipts were required?[/quote]
      I would think there would be a case for means testing those benefits too and I am sure Johann Lamont would agree?

  9. Well the best bit about Mr Mitchell taking a walk is that only last night Alastair Campbell was saying that it wouldn’t happen.

    Not all cyclists shout at cops but I think he had a point about the gate and should have gone about it differently.

    • Not so much about the Gate but much more about Mitchell.
      He espoused everything which most Scots despise.
      Privilege and position do not give anyone the right to treat their fellow man as being inferior.
      The London establishment is rooted in this tradition which is why we Scots must rid of them.

  10. We better stop crowing when one of your own lets the side down again.

    [url=http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/expenses-row-27-mps-let-out-london-homes-while-claiming-taxpayers-money-to-rent-capital-property-1-2588562]27 MPs let out London homes while claiming taxpayers’ money to rent capital property[/url]

    [quote]David Amess, Southend West, Conservative; Clive Betts, Sheffield South East, Labour; Chris Bryant, Rhondda, Labour; Aidan Burley, Cannock Chase, Conservative; Andy Burnham, Leigh, Labour; William Cash, Stone, Conservative; Damian Collins, Folkestone and Hythe, Conservative; David Crausby, Bolton North East, Labour; Ian Davidson, Glasgow South West, Labour; Philip Davies, Shipley, Conservative; Don Foster, Bath, Liberal Democrat; Liam Fox, North Somerset, Conservative; George Freeman, Mid Norfolk, Conservative; Robert Goodwill, Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative; Nick Harvey, North Devon, Liberal Democrats; Stephen Hepburn, Jarrow, Labour; Charles Kennedy, Ross, Skye and Lochaber, Liberal Democrats; Jessica Lee, Erewash, Conservative; Peter Luff, Mid Worcestershire, Conservative; Anne Marie Morris, Newton Abbot, Conservative; Meg Munn, Sheffield Heeley, Labour; Jim Murphy, East Renfrewshire, Labour; Angus Robertson, Moray, SNP; Chris Ruane, Vale of Clwyd, Labour; Jon Trickett, Hemsworth, Labour; Andrew Turner, Isle of White, Conservative; Ben Wallace, Wyre and Preston North, Conservative[/quote]

    • [quote name=”cynicalHighlander”]We better stop crowing when one of your own lets the side down again.

      [/quote]

      Perhaps I am wrong but is there not already a very strong “whiff of sleaze” surrounding Mr Murphy and his London housing requirements/expense claims?

      I think he has already been forced to make repayments to the public purse as an “Honest Mistake” was made.

      To misquote Mr wilde: Once is misfortune, twice is carelessness, thrice is…..

  11. That explains why Murphy has not gone to ground as he usually does. Tweeted about Mitchell tonight. Not great.

    The worst of that lot must be the Southend Tory MP. Why would you get money to rent when there is a commuter train.

  12. That is very true # cynicalHighlander

    Angus Robertson, Moray, SNP; is on the list and it is a bitter pill to swallow. But I make no distinction if it is to do with the issue of house renting / mortgage stuff.

    If he is on the list for other reasons then I am prepared to make some allowance (no pun intended)until the full facts are known.

    The SNP leadership should advise all MP’s and MSP’s about how sensitive this issue is especially in present situation.

    God! we are distributing food parcels in the 21st century and are floating on oil.

    We must win the referendum in 2014.

  13. Good point Oldnat! and if today’s NATO vote means there will remain a defence union will Angus be the minister for Scotland still sitting in Westminster if Independence is won?

  14. The SNP must be whiter than white! It should be easier as they are the only party with a cause. I have taken great pride when people have said to me all politicians and political parties are the same. I say tell me one SNP scandal and no-one can answer. We don’t want to start!

  15. We are watching a ‘right of passage’ here. Become a politician in that cesspit of Westminster, learn the ropes, play by the rules, scam the public purse for all you can. Look the voters in the face and spit in their eye. Lie cajole and otherwise rubbish your fellow Scots, you are now a member of the priviledged pre ermine brigade.
    Next step, and lets hope it’s not a trip up, you will become a Lord and the plebs will have to doff their cap to you as you find another cosy trough to dip into.
    Job done. Scotland, what care have you of that place when your place is in London, making you a nice little income.

  16. Urgent need for clarification by Angus Robertson. He must declare without equivocation why he is on these lists. After yesterday’s debate where the head won out over the heart, the last thing we need is a prominent SNP man joining the long line of MPs with his snout in the trough. If true, many of us will be disgusted.

  17. Why is it only in the Scotsman? If there was anything behind it, it would be plastered over every scurrilous unionist rag and broadcast hourly by the BBC.

    I sincerely hope it is a lie. It would be music to my ears to hear that Angus Robertson was taking the Scotsman and its editor the full road for libel. I would even chip-in for it!

  18. Any update as to Robertson being involved in this troughing outrage. The man should hold his head in shame if it’s true.

    • [quote name=”ferryman”]Any update as to Robertson being involved in this troughing outrage. The man should hold his head in shame if it’s true.[/quote]
      According to the “Sun” ferryman, Robertson is saying that he didn,t make any profit from this device. No comment from the other Scottish M.Ps involved. Still, after their non-involvement in the previous expenses scandal, it,s disappointing to find an S.N.P member involved, especially our leader at Westminster. Can only hope he has a reasonable explanation.

  19. In the Daily Record: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/scots-politicians-caught-up-in-rent-1388577

    “A spokesman for Robertson said: “He has never profited through the allowances system. His claims are entirely in accordance with parliamentary rules and properly declared.”

    After the expenses scandal three years ago, Robertson pledged to sell his flat and reimburse the Commons.

    But like many MPs, he has found that the property is now worth less than he paid for it.

    Fox, Davidson, Murphy and Kennedy did not respond to reports that they are involved in the new expenses row.”

    In the comments section:
    “Just to make it clear, this is MPs who own property, rent it out and at same time rent another property at taxpayers expense, surely there can be no defence for this sort of behaviour. The rules may not specifically exclude it, that is not the same as it being ok.”

    —————————————

    We need further clarification from Angus Robertson.

    • Agreed, xyz. If this is true, then this guy has done more damage to the YES campain in seconds, than the unionists have in the last two years!

      • [quote name=”The Tree of Liberty”]Agreed, xyz. If this is true, then this guy has done more damage to the YES campain in seconds, than the unionists have in the last two years![/quote]

        I agree that two wrongs don’t make a right, and I am disappointed that Angus Robertson is one of this list of MPs who are engaging in this latest example of questionable profiteering.

        However I do take issue with your claim that Robertson has done such comparatively more damage to the YES campaign than those of the NO campaign.

        Are you suggesting that the long list of troughing NO campaigners are in some way less culpable than ONE sole YES campaigner? Is questionable behaviour okay provided you are a unionist? From the tone of your post, this would certainly seem to be the case.

        For clarification, I repeat that I disapprove of Angus Robertson’s behaviour in this case. The fact that he has sunk to the same level as the likes of Ian Davidson and Liam Fox, to name but two, is doubly inexusable.

  20. Angus needs to explain….[b]and fast !![/b]
    All of them need to explain, including Barcow. (What has “security” got to do with twisted manipulation ?)

    They all have the right expect no more or less justice than anyone else, so lets hear them answer the charges first, before judging them.

    If Angus knows he has broken even the spirit of guidelines against fiddling expenses, then I trust he will do the right thing right now and resign immediately. His swansong would be to heap pressure on the rest and force them from under the rocks they live under into the light of day. Angus can blow the whistle as loud as he can as he walks out the door.

    YES will win anyway in 2014, I’m sure Angus knows that.

  21. O/T(sorry)…but whats the problem with comments on ‘BBC Bias: Believers Broadcasting Christianity’. Nothing going through since yesterday, apart from 3 comments supporting the offensive Mr Otten……?

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