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British M.P.'s May Lose Residence Perk - NYTimes.com

LONDON -- After a string of embarrassing revelations about expense claims by members of Parliament, Prime Minister Gordon Brown proposed Tuesday that the expense-account system be overhauled "to restore people's confidence that M.P.'s are there to serve the public and not themselves."

Legislators in the House of Commons are the beneficiaries of an array of perks and reimbursements, all of them perfectly legal, for expenses associated with running their offices, traveling between London and their districts, and having homes in both places. Members of Parliament earn base salaries of $92,795. In a recent 12-month period, they claimed an average of nearly $200,000 in expenses.

It emerged this month that the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, regularly claims that her sister's house in London, where she rents a room when Parliament is in session, is her primary residence. That has allowed Ms. Smith to draw the equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars in the so-called second-home allowance for the house in Worcestershire, where her family lives and where she lives during weekends and the long stretches when Parliament is not sitting.

by Fran on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 at 02:07:47 PM EST
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