(2009) New Labour M.P. Phil Hope -PARASITE

Phil Hope, the care services minister, is facing questions over how he spent nearly £10,000 a year refurbishing a small south London flat.

The Government minister claimed more than £37,000 in MPs expenses in just over four years on everything from a new kitchen, seven doors, and wooden flooring.

Mr Hope also claimed for a chest of drawers, a mattress, a television, a sofa, an armchair, a washing machine, three chairs, two bookcases, one coffee table, a wardrobe and a dining room table.

He also charged the taxpayer for a £120 new barbecue and £61 for gardening materials – even though Commons rules say that MPs can only claim for the cost of maintaining a garden.

Land registry plans show that the flat has access to a communal garden, which yesterday was empty with no plants, nor any sign of the barbecue.

Mr Hope bought the flat in Southwark, south London, in 1998, and remortgaged the property with Cheltenham & Gloucester in October 2002.

The Commons Green Book bans MPs from claiming "the capital cost of repairs which go beyond making good dilapidations and enhance the property".

Mr Hope's monthly returns for the additional costs allowance between 2004-05 and the middle of last year show that he was able to overhaul the flat completely.

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