Response to Daily Telegraph Allegations
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This is the full text of the statement that I ssued in advance of today's paper. I will, of copurse, answer detailed questions on any aspect of my claims and I expect to issue a further detailed statement later today.


1. I have not flipped my home. When I was made Assistant Chief Whip in 2002 I was told I was obliged to claim on my home in Worcestershire. I changed back to claiming on my London flat immediately I ceased to be Assistant Chief Whip. These enforced arrangements had no implications for my Capital Gains Tax liability. The taxpayer neither gained nor lost from these arrangements as the total cost of running both homes is very similar.

2. I have for all my 17 years in Parliament purchased the majority of my household goods for London in Worcestershire because I do not have time to shop in London. The fact my claims relating to London included receipts - consistently all the receipts for every item, going well beyond the requirements of the Fees Office- shows I had nothing to hide in this respect.

3. I am genuinely puzzled by several of the items I have purchased over the four year period that you identify in your list but I am travelling in the North West with my select committee and simply cannot access my detailed expense claims - without seeing the receipts I simply cannot establish the facts and offer you an explanation on every point.

4. When I re-examined my expense claims, I was concerned about one item you identify - the large decorating claim on my Worcestershire home. When I made it I expected to remain Assistant Chief Whip for a considerably longer period than proved to be the case. I cannot afford to maintain two homes out of one income and need to claim the full cost of every item in my second home. I have a smaller mortgage than many of my colleagues precisely for this reason - hence the claim. However, because I was able to start claiming once more on my London flat, in practice I derived the benefit of the decorations after resuming claims on the flat. There were other expenses on my London flat that I incurred at this time and which were of course paid for by me out of my taxed income.

5. I welcome unreservedly the process David Cameron has put in place to scrutinise our expenses and I was awaiting the conclusions of that process before establishing exactly how much I should repay relating to items that were now deemed unreasonable. I will certainly repay any sums identified in this process.

6. I will not have access to my detailed claims until I return to Worcestershire this evening but I will then examine your list in more detail. I will also ask that consideration of my claims by the Party machinery is dealt with as speedily as possible. I have always taken personal responsibility for all my claims which I believed to be both within the letter and, more importantly, the spirit of the rules. If my judgement is proved wrong I will willingly repay any money identified as breaching the spirit of those rules.

Peter Luff


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