The Telegraph has to be credited with exposing the MPs' expenses scandal in June last year and they continue to keep a close watch over MPs' behaviour with regard to their inappropriate use of taxpayers' money.
Labour and Tory MPs have moved into new properties after the Commons authorities announced that they would block future claims for mortgage costs and claw back a proportion of the profits made on subsidised properties. MPs can claim for rental costs on new London homes.
So what has Chris Bryant done? (pictured above). The shadow justice minister has rented out his mansion flat in Bloomsbury (pictured above). There's nothing wrong with letting a home you own and have maintained. But Chris Bryant hasn't maintained his Bloomsbury flat because the taxpayer paid £4,000 for stamp duty and £881 for legal costs when he bought it for £495,000 in 2005. Since then he's claimed the mortgage costs plus the service charge of up to £1,400 every six months. The mortgage payment isn't detailed but it will be considerable by anyone's standards. To avoid Westminster getting their hands on a proportion of the sale of the property Mr Bryant has rented it and moved into a new property for which, of course, taxpayers will pay the rent and any service charges.
Other MPs are involved in this scam. Peter Luff, junior defence minister, has also recently rented out a flat in London while Tory MP Philip Hollobone has rented out his house in Blackheath. Labour MPs Clive Betts and Andrew Love are at it as well renting out their Westminster flats along and not to be outdone David Crausby and Meg Munn have kept them company.
The SNP MP Angus Robertson has also rented his Westminster flat and said he was not making a profit from renting it out. "The rental income covers mortgage repayments and costs."
The other MPs declined to comment.
They just don't get it do they? Mr Robertson's comment makes that very obvious. What he doesn't seem to understand is that taxpayers' money has been spent subsidising these residences and, with the new rules, the honest action would be to sell their properties. Letting them, in the full knowledge that they will increase in value and they can keep all profits, is teetering on the edge of dishonesty.
The rules state that MPs who continue claiming mortgage interest costs until 2012 will have to repay a portion of the increased value of their properties to the House of Commons authorities. If an MP's flat was valued at £500,000 in May 2010 and the MP continued to claim 50% of the mortgage costs until 2012, the House of Commons would be entitled to half the increase in value of the flat over that period.
If MPs rent a new property the can claim £17,600 a year to cover the rental costs (£1,467 a month).