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North Somerset MP Liam Fox hits back in row over rent expenses

By Emily_Koch  |  Posted: October 19, 2012

Liam Fox

Liam Fox

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North Somerset MP Liam Fox has hit back in the row over MPs renting out their London flats.

The North Somerset MP says the “absurd” rules set up in the wake of the expenses scandal were to blame for the row.

Dr Fox is one of 27 MPs who claim expenses to rent out a London home while simultaneously letting out another one that they own.

He is not one of eight who are reported to be in a rental arrangement with another MP.

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Dr Fox said he had been moved out of the London flat he owns for security when he was made Defence Secretary. He resigned from the job a year ago.

He said: “The options were either to sell it or keep it rented until I was able to move back at a future date.”

Dr Fox said he would sell the flat “at some point”.

The Telegraph reported today that Dr Fox is one of several members of the House of Commons, including former ministers, who are claiming expenses of up to £20,000 a year each for rent as well as receiving rent from properties that were often purchased and refurbished with taxpayer assistance.

The paper claims that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has confirmed that at least eight MPs are either letting properties to, or renting from, another MP, a loophole in the rules that effectively allows them to continue building up property nest-eggs at taxpayers’ expense.

Research by this newspaper using official parliamentary records shows that the 27 MPs who are renting London homes while claiming rental income for other flats include Dr Fox, Chris Bryant, the shadow immigration minister, and former defence ministers Peter Luff and Nick Harvey, as well as David Amess, a Tory MP.

Officially – according to parliamentary rules – they have not done anything wrong.

But it is likely that questions will be asked about how taxpayers’ money is being used.

The documents show that Dr Fox began claiming £1,971 a month in rent at the beginning of this year, shortly after letting his south London flat. Mr Fox does not rent from or let to another MP.

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  • StanStill  |  November 23 2012, 7:39PM

    Fox is just an arrogant, pompous man, who has an inflated opinion of himself.

    |   4
  • Trymriverman  |  October 20 2012, 4:16PM

    @ nickthomson Yes, that seems like a good idea. No, I wasn't suggesting that as such but they do say that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel and since his career went into free fall he's been, as a last resort, trying to build some kind of following with the eurosceptic tendency - a political grouping that seems intend on dragging Europe back to the bad old days in the name of false placed patriotism. Incidentally, I'm sure if they achieved their secret fantasy of war with France & Germany that they'd be the last to go over the trenches to get blown to pieces, I'm sure they'd find some excuse to be in some far off neutral country, whilst making a small fortune from investments in the arms industry.

    |   6
  • sonel  |  October 20 2012, 2:59PM

    Oh you have to be kidding me! If I have a job that requires me to be in London, I pay for my housing not anyone else. Why are politicians any different? And they should be forced to disclose all their assets held by them and their spouse and any dependant kids..if any property is owned in London at all, and if London is their home city, then NO RENT OR MORTGAGE should be allowed to be expensed. It's common sense. After all, austerity measures should apply to all, no?

    |   4
  • smoosername  |  October 19 2012, 10:52PM

    You should always be worried as a MP when the 'misdemeanour's' section of your wikipedia page is long than your accomplishments! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liam_Fox I don't think that will be the last of the misdemeanour's either.

    |   7
  • Avalonian  |  October 19 2012, 9:01PM

    In considering Liam Fox's argument, the key question seems to be whether the rental income the receives is offset against the rent he has to pay out and only the net difference claimed. The implication of the article is that it is not, which is both illogical and immoral. We may also wonder who LF is paying rent to and whether there is any other connection between them.

    |   7
  • FromMendip  |  October 19 2012, 8:01PM

    Let's have a bit of compassion. It's clear that being an MP is a drain on their personal cash flows and who can blame them if they try to recoup some of it by dipping their mits. Even the chancellor of the exchequer was caught in a first class railway coach today with a standard class ticket but apparently his patter failed to move the guard into letting him stay there without paying for the upgrade. And didn't Tony Blair fly with easyJet to go on holiday? Though I don't think it was true that he was once seen selling dodgy watches from a suitcase in the Broad Walk shopping centre. Could have been though, I suppose. We ought to be pleased that we've got some Del Boy wheelers and dealers in parliament. They might be able to con one of the dim-witted US presidential candidates out of a few billion quid for us, though they would naturally take their skim of course.

    |   -3
  • nickthompson  |  October 19 2012, 4:39PM

    Trymriverman: Are you suggesting that UKIP are a party of crooks. One solution might be to bring back FOX hunting!!

    |   8
  • Sam123  |  October 19 2012, 3:40PM

    It is now obvious that the three main party's are on the make like a bunch of Spivs! And that leader of the house John Berkow doing his best to hide their criminality just shows yes they are in it all together!

    |   12
  • Roversteve  |  October 19 2012, 3:30PM

    Interesting to see how many of the farmer types vote for him in the next election !

    |   10
  • geoffone1  |  October 19 2012, 3:25PM

    "North Somerset MP Liam Fox hits back in row over rent boy" more like!

    |   10

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