Nadine Dorries is to stop claiming personal parliamentary expenses to avoid being further ‘targeted’ by investigations.
Speaking exclusively to the Times & Citizen, the MP for Mid Bedfordshire revealed that she will forego around £3,040 a month in expenses including cash for Westminster accommodation, council tax, travel costs and meals.
She said: “For me the problem is the moment I put my head above the parapet and campaigned to have the abortion limit reduced from 24 weeks to 20 I became a target.”
She added: “Even though I’m completely innocent it’s tough for my office staff because they are the ones who are responsible for compliance.
“Every time there is an investigation it goes on for months and I can’t keep putting them through it.
“I’ve had to take this decision it’s been horrible to see how stressed they have been, even though the investigations always fully cleared me.”
The news comes as Ms Dorries is being investigated by Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority over claims for travel and subsistence and accommodation expenditure. She says that she is happy with the way the investigation has been conducted so far.
The Parliamentary Commissioner For Standards is also investigating the registration of her fee for her appearance on the reality TV show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. The MP claims that she has personally been paid no fee for the show.
In 2010 Ms Dorries was also investigated by the commissioner over a claim for second home expenses, but was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Ms Dorries will now use her parliamentary salary to pay for the expenses, which also include entertaining constituents, and the council tax and utilities for her Westminster pad.
She said: “I feel that the best thing to do is to remove all claims and I’m lucky because I’ve got personal support and can do that. I’ve got a great partner.”
She added: “I’m going to work for free, I have to live in Bedfordshire because it’s what my constituents expect from me, but as I sit on and chair committees I have to have accommodation in Westminster.”
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By Hayley O’Keeffe