LONDON: A senior Conservative MP used his House of Commons expenses to pay more than £100,000 ($163,000) of taxpayers’ money to his own company.For more than three years David Wilshire claimed for office assistance provided by Moorlands Research Services.Parliamentary expenses rules forbid MPs from entering into arrangements that ”may give rise to an accusation” of profiting from public funds. However, on Wednesday night Mr Wilshire, an MP from Surrey, admitted that he and his partner, Ann Palmer, were sole owners of the business.Between 2005 and last year Mr Wilshire paid up to £3250 a month to the business. Extra invoices were also submitted and the total paid to the firm was £105,500.However, there is no official record of the company’s existence and it has never filed public accounts.Parliamentary authorities have not independently checked how the money was spent, and Mr Wilshire was unable to provide a breakdown.The disclosure casts doubt over the MP’s expense claims amid concerns that he may have personally profited from the arrangement. He is expected to face a formal inquiry.The MP, who also employs Ms Palmer as his office manager, said on Wednesday night that the company he had founded had paid ”suppliers” to provide office services such as printing.It was run by Ms Palmer, and he insisted that they had not profited from the arrangement. He conceded it had never been registered as a company.But he was unable to explain why taxpayers’ money was funnelled through the firm in this way, or why such an arrangement was permitted with virtually no scrutiny.Files show that other MPs commission office services from companies and claim them on expenses by submitting receipts.The exposure of the payments will add to growing fears over the thoroughness of the inquiry, headed by Sir Thomas Legg, into the expenses system.Telegraph, London
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