Nadine Dorries cleared but has paid back £3k expenses

Nadine Dorries has been cleared of deliberately misclaiming expenses but has still paid back £3,000.

By Hayley O’Keeffe
Monday, 29th July 2013, 9:03 am

In a provisional report the compliance officer to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) Peter Davis found that the MP for Mid Bedfordshire should not have been allowed to claim for some travel costs, but did not do it deliberately.

The matter goes back to February 2013, when following a complaint from IPSA an investigation into Nadine’s accommodation expenses and travel and business costs was conducted.

IPSA was concerned that Nadine’s claims for utilities at her Westminster accommodation rose during a three month period which included parliamentary recess, that Nadine did not routinely stay in her funded accommodation as is required by the scheme and that although she had a parliamentary flat she was still submitting claims for daily return journeys to her constituency home.

Nadine, who last month revealed that she will stop claiming personal expenses in a bid to change the system, said: “I am delighted that the compliance officer made no findings against me. I am pleased that he emphasised throughout the report that I had not attempted to profit from the scheme and that he even highlighted expenses I could have claimed over the years, if I had wanted to, but didn’t.

“I have not claimed travel expenses for some time and have already announced that I have undertaken to pay all Westminster accommodation and travel costs using my salary, thereby working almost for free”

In response to IPSA’s claims Nadine said that a dependent family member had been using the flat when the utility bills increased, something that falls into parliamentary rules.

She also said that during the time being scrutinised she had to be at home more than usual as a family member, and her elderly pet dog fell ill.

In the report Peter Davis said: “There is no evidence to suggest that the explanation given by the MP for the rise in utility costs during recess is incorrect. Further following dialogue with the MP, the compliance officer is satisfied that occupation was by a dependent and, as a result she may have qualified for an ‘uplift’ to her accommodation budget which she has not claimed.”

The report says that Nadine has already paid back £3000.72 for the extra journeys.