(2009) Liberal Democrat M.P. Charles Kennedy -PARASITE

The former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy, charged taxpayers for three boxes of mints and two teddy bears bought from the gift shop at the House of Commons.

Mr Kennedy submitted the £35.75 bill for the items, which paperwork suggested were to be used as "prizes", under the Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP) which is meant to cover MPs' office costs.

The Commons Fees Office paid up for the three boxes of "dark chocolate mints" at £5.95 each and the two "toffee bears" at £8.95.

Mr Kennedy said on Saturday night that the claim had been an "error" – and that the money had been repaid earlier this month.

He said he received regular requests for such charitable donations. "These I meet from my own pocket and am happy to do so," he added.

Mr Kennedy, the MP for the seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber, also attempted to use his taxpayer-funded office costs allowance for Remembrance Sunday poppy wreaths.

He successfully claimed £18 for a poppy wreath in November 2006 – but an attempt to claim £49 for wreaths a year later was disallowed.

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