Blair property comes under scrutiny
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has been dragged into the MP expenses row.
Documents obtained by the Sunday Telegraph revealed Mr Blair apparently remortgaged his constituency home for £296,000 - nearly 10 times what he paid for it - just before buying a west London house for £3.65 million.
While there is no suggestion Mr Blair broke any parliamentary rules, he was able to use the system to claim for interest repayments amounting to almost a third of the new mortgage on his constituency home.
The remortgaged amount was enough to cover the deposit on the new London house, the newspaper reported.
Mr Blair is among the latest assortment of leading politicians to be embarrassed over their expenses activity. They include ex-Trade Secretary Stephen Byers, Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson and former Tory minister John Gummer.
One current minister, Kitty Ussher, set out a two page wish-list of improvements to her house in south London and merely instructed parliament officials: "Please pay as much as you are able!"
Another, Kevin Brennan, apparently had a £450 television delivered to his family home in Wales, even though it had been claimed on expenses for use at his London home.
Several others who have been the subject of previous stories have threatened legal action for supposed inaccuracies.
They include immigration minister Phil Woolas, who was accused of claiming for his wife's clothes and nappies, and Labour backbencher Margaret Moran - who allegedly switched the designation of her second home to a seaside property 100 miles from her constituency, and days later claimed £22,500 to treat dry rot. THE ECHO