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'lodger' Deal Earns Jacqui Smith £100,000 As She Claims Sister's House Is Main Home

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Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has claimed more than £116,000 in Commons expenses for a 'second home' while effectively lodging with her sister.

Ms Smith claims the maximum parliamentary second-home allowance, currently a tax-free £24,006 a year, on the detached house in her West Midlands constituency, where her husband and two young children live and which she bought for £300,000 five years ago.

She is able to do so because she has told the Commons authorities that her 'main home' is a house in London owned solely by her sister, Sara, where she stays on some weekdays.

Nor is this the only large expense caused by the Home Secretary's decision to share her sister's house.

Two policemen provide a round-the-clock guard at the South London property, costing taxpayers an estimated £200,000 a year. The two officers are stationed at the property on a shift basis.

There would have been no need for such protection had Ms Smith opted to live in one of two vacant grace-and-favour ministerial homes in Whitehall when she became Home Secretary in 2007 as they already have police protection.

But such a move would have affected Ms Smith's personal finances: Ministers who live in such properties are not allowed to claim the Commons second-home allowance.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker last night called on Ms Smith to answer key questions about her Commons expenses.

It seems extraordinarily bad value for the taxpayer,' said Mr Baker.

'This suggests that the steps taken to eliminate unsatisfactory elements of the housing allowance system have not yet been completed.'

Ms Smith last night denied she had done anything wrong.

Her spokeswoman said: 'Jacqui has documentation to prove that everything is completely above board. It has been cleared by the Commons Fees Office.'

She denied that Ms Smith was benefiting by nominating her London address as her 'main home' instead of her constituency home, which is now thought to be worth considerably more than the £300,000 she paid for it.

The spokeswoman said Ms Smith spends 'the bulk of the week' at her sister's home in London.

Asked how many nights she stayed there, the spokeswoman said: 'She tends to go home Thursday evenings and returns on Sunday or Monday.'

When it was pointed out that this suggested an average of three-and-a-half days a week, the spokeswoman replied: 'She doesn't count the number of nights.'

Nor would Ms Smith disclose if she paid her sister rent. The Home Secretary 'makes a contribution to the household', said the spokeswoman, who refused to provide further details.

The spokeswoman denied Ms Smith was 'lodging' with her sister, and said the two 'shared the house'.[/b]

Labour are finished they are creating just as much sleaze as the Tories did at the end.

It appears the press are now going after them.

The taxpayer is just there to be bent over and screwed.

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So apparently the taxpayer footing a 200K bill so that she can pocket an extra 24K for herself is, in her eyes, 'doing nothing wrong'.

I guess that's where her world view and mine diverge (and why I'd never make it in politics I suppose).

Because I thought politicians were supposed to do what's best for US.

Where did all the decent people go?

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Not a sniff of this story on the BBC.....

Rewind 11 years to a time it was a Tory home secretary and it would be top item on page 1.

yes its Labour

"Doing the right thing for hard working families"

Have no worries the slime that comprises the nu-labor leadership are about to face the pressure washer of public opinion

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Wonder where darling got the national mortgage interest relief idea plan from ?

He only had to look down the table at the cabinet meeting, and the precedent was staring him right in the face !!!

Except giving interest relief in the form of 'expenses' while your still in employment is just too much of a gift for the sheeple.

That kind of largesse can only exist for cabinet ministers !!!

It's like giving every adult int the country 50k each to pay down they're mortgages, you must be joking!!! it's much safer to give the sum total to the banks to plug they're balance sheets. And get the ponzi system going rather than empower the sheeple. IF anyone actually believes we're wealthier [mctavish that means you] and we're not actually being screwed over by a minority who receive all the grace and favour, then those who believe that are truly moronic [you again mctavish]

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Labour are finished they are creating just as much sleaze as the Tories did at the end.

It appears the press are now going after them.

The taxpayer is just there to be bent over and screwed.

Didn't you get the memo which stated that how much of your money they use for their expenses or remuneration is really none of your business?

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Just sickening.

Real decent, honest people are finding it really tough now, and these troughers lord it over us with utter contempt.

The taxpayer is being shafted and it is going on all over the country... in Parliament, in the Quangos, in the Town Halls... at the banks.

It is out of control... and it seems to be getting worse. The greater the public plight, the more they take to stash away.

Sickening. Truly.

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This ZaNuLabour Government is the worst in British history.

They are completely Shameless.

I want to see their Portilo moment at the next election as the results are read out.

Jackie Smith 15 votes

Hazel Blears 10 Votes

Harman 2 Votes

Just to watch their pale faces as they realise that the people have just said F**koff.

Edited by EndToBoomandBust
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Had this been a Tory under major, they would have been drummed out of office pretty quickly. Politicians are now so shameless that even when caught with their hands in the cookie jar, they deny that they have done anything wrong.

We have seen much the same thing with the cash for amendments scandal (I write scandal, but what the hell happened to it?).

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I don't care whether she pays a million pounds in rent to her sister.

Her primary residence should be the one she owns.

she shouldn't be allowed any second home allowance as she does have the availability of a grace and favour home.

Ministers who don't have a grace and favour home should only be allowed to claim up to LHA levels, maybe if they had to live with the conditions the rest of us do we might get better government, it would certainly be cheaper.

This I am afraid demonstrates the corruption of MP's, especially Labour who seem to have lost any morals they had to begin with.

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Consider which politicians have their snouts most firmly in the trough. Ruth Kelly has all kinds of expenses wheezes on the go and last year gave up her p1ss-poor ministerial career, no doubt so she could look for lucrative employment in the private sector. She has a majority of just 2064. Jacqui Smith is no different; she has a majority in her Redditch constituency of 2716. Many of these Labour politicians already know they are out of a job in a little over a year's time. They are milking the taxpayer for every penny they can get while they still can.

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