(2009) New Labour David Miliband M.P. -PARSITE
David Miliband's spending on his constituency home was so extensive that even his gardener questioned whether some of the costs were strictly necessary.
Over five years, Mr Miliband spent just under £30,000 on repairs, decoration and furnishings for his £120,000 home in South Shields.
On at least one occasion, he exceeded the maximum allowable amount and had his claim cut back. Mr Miliband, the current Foreign Secretary, spent up to £180 every three months on his garden, prompting his own gardener at one point to ask whether all the work was required.
In April 2008, on the bottom of a receipt for £132.96, the gardener wrote: “Please let me know if you would like pots making up at front and back this year, given the relatively short time you’ll be here and their labour-intensive nature.”
Under the rules, MPs may claim for basic garden maintenance, but not: “plants, shrubs, flowers, hanging baskets or other decorations”.
In 2005, Mr Miliband fell foul of rules which prohibit MPs from claiming any costs relating to their children. His application for reimbursement for a £199 pram and £80 in “baby essentials” were both rejected.
In another breach of the guidelines, Mr Miliband regularly claimed about £89 for undisclosed “household items”. In 2006, the then-environment secretary was told that he needed to provide details of his claims, and that part of his payment would be held back until he did. He wrote back withdrawing the claims, saying: “I am afraid I have not been able to lay my hands on the receipts for the items so we had better leave the payment as you have made it. I will keep a closer guard of the receipts in future.” Mr Miliband failed to resubmit his claim, even when the fees office wrote back advising that he did not need to provide receipts, but just to supply details of the items. He was not asked to repay his previous claims over several months, or provide information about the items that he had bought at taxpayers’ expense.
During the five years covered by the receipts, Mr Miliband successfully claimed for a £412 hand-crafted chair, a goose-down duvet and chenille throw from Marks & Spencer, a £450 “Gatsby” John Lewis sofa, and a washing machine and tumble dryer, some of which were ordered in the name of his American wife, Louise, a concert violinist.
Labels: New Labour