(2009) Conservative M.P. Stewart Jackson -LEECH ON THE BACK OF THE TAXPAYER

Stewart Jackson, a shadow minister, has claimed more than £66,000 for his family home, including hundreds of pounds on refurbishing his swimming pool.

The Tory communities spokesman switched his second home allowance to the £470,000 property in his constituency of Peterborough when he bought it in November 2005.

Mr Jackson, who was elected to Parliament only six months before he moved in, claimed £304 for work on the pool. After being approached by The Daily Telegraph he conceded that the claim “could be construed as excessive” and agreed to repay the money. He also billed the taxpayer for more than £11,000 in professional fees and costs incurred during the move. He went on to claim thousands more in new furniture, carpets and appliances for the new house.

The MP had previously rented a £168,000 terraced house in the constituency for about £475 per month. Since moving into the larger house he has claimed interest charges on its mortgage of between £1,500 and £1,700 per month.

While he has designated the property as his second home for expenses purposes, his profile on the Conservative Party website says that he and his wife Sarah O’Grady, a journalist for a national newspaper, “live in central Peterborough with their baby daughter Isabel”.

The couple also own a house in Ealing, west London, which they bought in 1998. It is unclear how much they paid. The house next door was sold in 2003 for £481,125.

Mr Jackson claimed for a long list of professional services when the family moved into their new house in Peterborough. He paid £1,336 in mortgage fees, £705 for a survey, £435 for insurance and £600 to his building society.

He also claimed for £1,836 in mortgage broker fees, £2,545 solicitors’ fees, £1,145.63 solicitors’ conveyancing costs and a £2,412 initial mortgage charge.

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