Esther McVey Reportedly Claims £3k Per Month For London Rent – Despite Husband Owning Nearby Flat

The minister for common sense and Tory MP Philip Davies are facing scrutiny over their alleged expenses.
Esther McVey and her husband fellow Tory MP Philip Davies are facing criticism over their reported Parliamentary expenses.
Esther McVey and her husband fellow Tory MP Philip Davies are facing criticism over their reported Parliamentary expenses.
David Mirzoeff - PA Images via Getty Images

Minister Esther McVey and her husband Philip Davies are using taxpayers’ money to rent a London property – despite owning another one just down the road, reports claim.

Campaign group Led By Donkeys released a social media video on Thursday claiming that the couple – both Tory MPs – are claiming £3,200 a month through parliamentary expenses to rent in the capital.

But Davies owns a flat in Westminster which is, according to Led By Donkeys and the Daily Telegraph, just a “short walk” from the House of Commons where they both work.

He reportedly purchased it in 2005 shortly after being elected. He used taxpayer’s money for his mortgage for the first seven years, which was permitted prior to the 2009 expenses scandal.

But, the parliamentary rules were changed the IPSA (independent parliamentary standards authority).

It meant Davies could no longer claim mortgage interest on the property he owns if he and McVey, the minister for common sense, still lived there.

They now rent that place out for unspecified amount and rent a different flat a short distance away – and they can claim that rental expense back.

According to Led By Donkeys, it works out to more than £3,200 in rent per month.

“Our analysis shows that since 2017, the couple have claimed some £250,000 in taxpayers’ money to fund their living costs,” the campaign group said.

This does not breach any parliamentary rules, because both McVey and Davies are MPs with constituencies more than an hour from London so can claim expenses when staying in the capital.

But the scathing video included previous clips from McVey where she criticised “wasteful spend” among public finances.

As she wrote in the Daily Mail last year: “We don’t want you to see a single penny of your hard-earned cash wasted on unnecessary public spending.”

Led By Donkeys claimed at least another eight MPs have claiming accommodation expenses while owning a property in the capital, meaning they may have claimed more than £1 million in expenses since 2017.

Davies told HuffPost UK this is “a total non-story”, adding: “This situation was forced on me by IPSA – it was not through any choice of mine.

“The flat I ‘own’ is not mortgage free – it if it was I would happily stay there without having to charge the taxpayer rent whilst I am working away from home in London.”

He said covering the cost of working away from home himself would “set workers’ rights back decades and make parliament the preserve of just the very wealthy.”

McVey has also been approached by HuffPost UK for comment.


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