MPs' Expenses Revelations Show Keens Doubling Up

Alan and Ann Keen have also been claiming mortgage interest against two properties

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The Brentford and Isleworth constituency

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Sharing the expenses spotlight with such a multitude of fellow MPs must come as a welcome relief for Brentford & Isleworth’s Ann Keen. Already dubbed ‘Mr and Mrs Expenses’ before this latest series of revelations Ann Keen and her husband Alan Keen MP Keen notched up £167,306 and £146,408 respectively in expenses in the last financial year.

However, the latest disclosures in The Daily Telegraph’s investigation reveals that the Keens have not only been ‘doubling up’ on some expense claims, they have also been claiming for interest on a £520,000 mortgage, even though the apartment the list as their second home only cost £500,000. One mortgage for £350,000 was secured on the apartment which is a short walk from the House of Commons, while the other was registered against their main home in Brentford (the mortgage on the ‘main home’ was worth £170,000).

According to The Telegraph, under normal circumstances, MPs are not allowed to claim against two properties. When Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, tried to claim for the mortgage on both his main home and his second home in 2006, the fees office responded in a letter, “The rules do not allow you to claim any part of the mortgage interest on your main home even though you have remortgaged this property to release capital to purchase a new second home.” Last month, the couple remortgaged both properties with Coutts bank.

Records also show that the two MPs claimed £55 a week for cleaning and also charged the taxpayer £50 for a service call to reconfigure the sound on their Bose home cinema system. Probably the most embarassing of all documentation regarding the Mr and Mrs Keens’ expense claims were papers that showed that in 2007 a senior official from the fees office reduced the Keens’ claim because both had been claiming £164 a month for council tax. The official wrote to the couple, “I note that you have both claimed for the council tax, not only on the June claim but also on your claims for April and May.”

Whilst this latest series of revelations have exposed a multitude of misappropriations by MPs from all parties, prompted resignations and even provoked a £41,000 payback from fellow Ministry of Health colleague Phil Hope, Ann Keen has remained silent.

In July last year she was not present in Parliament when members, including Alan Keen MP, voted by a majority of 28 to keep the additional costs allowance along with other expenses.

We have asked Ann Keen MP for comment on this matter and are awaiting her response.

May 15, 2009