(2009) Conservative Party M.P. James Clappison -PARASITE

A shadow minister who owns 24 houses claimed more than £100,000 in expenses, including thousands for gardening and redecoration.

James Clappison, a work and pensions spokesman, used taxpayers’ money to buy petunias, geraniums and busy lizzies for his “second home”, part of a property portfolio that includes a farm and a cricket club.

Mr Clappison, the MP for Hertsmere, claimed the expenses for a semi-detached house worth about £375,000 in St Albans, Herts, where he lives with his wife Helen. He also spends time at a house in Leeds, which is worth about £360,000 and is registered to his wife. Neither property is mortgaged.

As well as his homes, he rents out 22 houses in North Humberside, five of which are registered jointly with his wife.

The properties are spread around the villages of Withernsea and Patrington, where Mr Clappison owns a farm and 75 acres of surrounding land inherited from his father, who was a farmer.

He also owns the ground of Patrington village cricket club. He sits on the

club’s committee as “president and proprietor”. He has built up his property interests steadily since being elected in 1992, when he took over the safe Tory seat from Cecil Parkinson, the former cabinet minister and close ally of Lady Thatcher.

According to the Commons register of members’ interests, he had five houses by 1998 and 14 four years later.

Since 2001, Mr Clappison has claimed a total of £102,241 in second home expenses. Because he owned the house in St Albans outright, he was unable to claim interest charges on mortgage repayments, as many MPs do on their second homes.

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