(2009) Conservative M.P. John Gummer -PARASITE

John Gummer, the former Conservative Cabinet minister had moles removed from his country estate at taxpayers' expense.

John Gummer, the former environment secretary, used the parliamentary expenses system to claim more than £9,000 a year for gardening.

Mr Gummer also received hundreds of pounds to meet the costs of "treating" moles, removing jackdaw nests, tackling insect infestations and an annual "rodent service" contract. He claimed more than £100 a year for the mole treatment alone.

Only costs essential for an MP to carry out his or her parliamentary duties are supposed to be recouped. It is not clear why Mr Gummer's claims were authorised by House of Commons officials.

The former Cabinet minister, who famously allowed his daughter to be pictured with a hamburger during the BSE crisis in 1990, lives in a grange in Suffolk. He has a £60,000 mortgage on the property and initially claimed around £200 a month towards the interest on the loan.

However, he still claimed close to the maximum allowance of more than £20,000 annually during most years once his other expenses were added.

Letters seen by this newspaper show that officials in the House of Commons fees office were concerned that Mr Gummer was not producing receipts to justify many of his claims.

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