November 15, 2021 5.30 pm This story is over 24 months old

Louth and Horncastle MP claims for constituency home while charging rent on London property

It’s within the rules, thanks to a loophole

Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins has claimed more than £43,000 on her constituency home in Lincolnshire while charging rent on a London property.

An investigation by the Independent said Conservative Ms Atkins was one of 16 landlord MPs who put their housing costs on expenses while earning from rent on their own properties.

“It is understood that junior Home Office minister Ms Atkins’ claim for more than £43,000 in rent since April 2018 relates to her constituency home in Lincolnshire,” said the report.

“Since April 2018 she has also been collecting rent on a house in London.”

The latest House of Commons Register of Members’ Financial Interests shows the prison minister has held a “house in London” under the heading “Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year” since April 13, 2018.

It is understood Victoria Atkins acted in full accordance with rules laid down by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

It is also understood that she has not claimed for any property other than her constituency address in expenses.

No comment was made by Ms Atkins when her office was approached.

According to the Independent, the findings drew the ire of Sir Alistair Graham, the former chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, who called for an end to the “loophole” which allowed property-owning MPs to put their own rent on expenses and stay within the rules.

He said: “It may be within the rules, but it’s quite wrong for MPs to use the public purse in this way. MPs have a duty to claim only public funds that are necessary.

“If there’s an opportunity to end the loophole allowing them to do this, then we must take it. There is growing feeling that the rules must change.”

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