Ex­penses cheat ex-mp pay­ing back just £100 per month

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Laura Hughes PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

A FOR­MER Labour MP who was caught up in the ex­penses scan­dal is still pay­ing off his £18,000 debt more than 12 years af­ter step­ping down from Par­lia­ment, a Com­mons spokesman has re­vealed.

John Lyons, the for­mer trade union of­fi­cial and MP for Strathkelvin and Bears­den, is re­pay­ing just £100 a month with­out in­ter­est, the spokesman added.

In 2009, an audit con­ducted by Sir Thomas Legg found hun­dreds of MPS had ig­nored their own rules to milk a “deeply flawed” ex­penses sys­tem, in a scan­dal that shook Par­lia­ment.

Mr Lyons was sub­se­quently asked to re­pay over-claimed ex­penses af­ter he failed to pro­vide the Legg audit with ev­i­dence to sup­port mort­gage in­ter­est claims to­talling £18,780.80.

He was then granted per­mis­sion to clear his debt at a rate of £100 per month, ac­cord­ing to a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest by the Mailon­line.

The FOI also re­vealed that the 67 year-old has failed to pay the full £1,200 in some years.

James Price, cam­paign man­ager at the Tax­pay­ers’ Al­liance, said: “Tax­pay­ers will be deeply up­set to dis­cover an MP is tak­ing so long to re­pay money he wrongly re­ceived in the first place.

“Why he should be al­lowed to pay it back more slowly than peo­ple who make hon­est mis­takes on their tax re­turns is beyond me.

“Mr Lyons is not even pay­ing in­ter­est on what is ef­fec­tively a tax­payer­backed loan, and he def­i­nitely should be, at the very least, at the rate at which the Gov­ern­ment has to bor­row money,” he added.

Mr Lyons did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

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