Christian MP repays 20 times more than required over expenses

By staff writers
February 5, 2010

An MP well known for his Christian faith, has repaid 20 times more than was required.

The news came as political leaders attempted to draw a line under the expenses scandal with the publication of Sir Thomas Legg's devastating review of the "deeply flawed" expenses system, yesterday.

It also emerged that more than half of the MPs who appealed against his rulings were either partly or fully successful.

Sir Thomas Legg audited MPs' claims dating back to 2004.

It was recommended that the Northern Ireland office minister, Paul Goggins, repay £1,075.93. However, he repaid almost 20 times that amount, paying £21,307.15.

When the Daily Telegraph first revealed details of MPs' expenses, it reported Mr Goggins allowed a friend to live rent-free in a home paid for by the taxpayer.

The paper said that for past three years, Mr Goggins had designated the property as his second home and claimed almost £45,000 in expenses for it.

The paper claimed he did not tell the Commons fees office that he shared the house.

At the time Mr Goggins told the Telegraph he would repay a large amount based on a "thorough assessment" of how many nights his friend stayed there.

Prior to his election he was the director of Church Action on Poverty, a national church-based campaigning organisation.

He is also the co-founder of the All Party Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD group and is Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty.

St Luke's gospel records the story of Zacchaeus, a tax collector, who upon meeting Jesus promised to give half his possessions to the poor, and repay four times more to those he had defrauded.

Keywords:mps expenses
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