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1.    MPs' expenses: Tony Blair facing questions over the £296,000 mortgage - Telegraph
Tony Blair is facing fresh questions over how he funded his multi-million-pound property empire after details of the former Prime Minister's claims were leaked to The Sunday Telegraph.

The documents show that Mr Blair remortgaged his constituency home for £296,000, almost 10 times what he paid for it, months before he bought his town house in London for £3.65 million. Mr Blair was able to claim on his parliamentary expenses for the interest repayments on almost a third of the new mortgage on his constituency home.

The amount loaned was sufficient to cover the deposit on his house in Connaught Square, west London, one of five properties owned by the former prime minister, valued at £10 million in total.

by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 11:13:07 AM EST
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Emergency plan for independent audit of MPs' expenses - Times Online

MPs' expenses will be scrutinised by a new audit body policed by professional, external accountants under emergency plans being drawn up this weekend, it emerged today.

Sir Stuart Bell, the Labour MP for Middlesbrough who is one of those responsible for the current rules governing MPs' claims, said today: "In all probability tomorrow the Commission will approve a special specific audit unit, hived off from the fees office, independent of the fees office which will verify in future every claim that's made by any Member of Parliament."

He explained that the plans included hiring professional accountants who were "outside individuals" to comb through and verify new expense claims before signing them off.

Sir Stuart also said that he expected that there will be a statement in the House of Commons tomorrow to apologise to the public over the expenses and second home debacle.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 12:53:17 PM EST
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