(2009) New Labour M.P. Charlotte Atkins -PARASITE

Charlotte Atkins, a Labour MP, claimed more than £35,000 in renovations on her second home allowance including £20,000 for windows, £4,000 for the chimney, £9,000 for the bathroom and nearly £2,000 for the garden.

Over four years, Miss Atkins carried out extensive work on her detached Edwardian red brick constituency house in Leek, Staffordshire.
Her first major application to the fees office came in March 2005 when she claimed £4,000 for pulling down and rebuilding the chimney and £15,000 for window repairs and replacement.

When challenged, the MP said she had not realised the windows were rotten when she bought the property.

Officials agreed that the chimney was essential, but argued that the large scale renovations on the windows went “beyond the definition for allowable work set out in the Green Book”.

Notes of a conversation between the MP and the fees office said: “I think she accepted, but did not necessarily agree with, the idea that there was some benefit to her in the window replacement programme.

“I suggested that a 50/50 sharing of the costs might be appropriate. She neither agreed nor disagreed with this proposition.”

Miss Atkins’s memory of the conversation was slightly different: “We agreed what was acceptable under the Green Book – ie 50 per cent of the window repair – and I was entirely happy with that.”

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