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£9million staMPede

GREEDY MPs are rushing through mammoth expense claims worth MILLIONS of pounds-despite a promised FREEZE on them.

Speaker Michael Martin told the Commons that all claims for exes and allowances would be SUSPENDED until Parliament has put a new system in place.

But his orders have been IGNORED and dozens of MPs are cashing in by snapping up luxury items for their controversial second homes.

Many also fear their houses could be repossessed so they are piling in demands for mortgage payments.

They are stacking up so many claims for the current financial year that the taxpayer-funded bill will top last year's £9MILLION gravy train.


After Speaker Martin announced he was quitting amid mounting political uproar, the Fees Office rules on MPs' exes were thrown into chaos.

PM Gordon Brown announced there would be no more outrageous claims, with MPs only allowed to charge for a limited amount of rent, utility bills and council tax.

Tory leader David Cameron also declared his MPs would face tough limits, and an independent review is currently drawing up new restrictions.

However, no new rules have been formalised and MPs are hurrying to profit from the turmoil.

Many are still claiming for new kitchens, bathrooms, gardening, food, furniture and even costly plasma screen tellies.

One Conservative MP told the News of the World on Friday: "I'm sitting here doing my expenses now. If I don't I'll go bankrupt.

"Nothing has changed. The Fees Office have told me to fill out my expenses as normal. We can still submit some claims without receipts."

And a Labour MP confided: "The Fees Office agreed to some work on my house just after Christmas. I called them this week and was told to put in the receipts.

"I'm making sure I get paid before the system is scrapped. Dozens of us are in the same boat.

"You can't ask a builder to take away a new kitchen or undo the repairs to some windows, can you?"

However, our revelations will increase pressure on Mr Brown to speed up his promised Commons reforms. They show that MPs are still milking the taxpayer gravy train-even after hundreds have been exposed for appalling claims.

Last night ex-Labour MP Jane Griffiths heaped further shame on the main parties, claiming the whips forced young MPs to MAXIMISE their claims so they did not "let the team down."

The former Reading East MP said she was told to claim thousands of pounds for taxis she did not use.

"I don't drive a car so didn't claim any mileage allowance for travel in the constituency," she explained. "My whip said to me, 'You don't claim mileage, why not?'

"I said, 'Well, because I don't drive a car.' He said, 'You must get a taxi sometimes?' I said, 'I do sometimes but not that often.'

"'No,' he said, 'There's an allowance of £250 per month for taxis and you don't have to give receipts, you just fill in a form that says £250 for taxis.' And he added, 'I want you to claim that.' So I did because it would get the whips off my back. So I had money that morally I shouldn't have."

The PM now plans to unveil a new, agreed "Code of Conduct" for all MPs by the end of summer. It will be introduced after Sir Christopher Kelly's committee draws up new expenses regulations.

The code would cover their financial arrangements and make them promise to work hard for constituents. A Downing Street source told us: "This would guarantee an MP does what people want them to do.


"They would be told the basic level of service they're required to give. They would have to spend a certain amount of time in their constituency, be visible, respond to their constituents and hold so many surgeries."

The code would also create a mechanism allowing constituents to get rid of their MP if he or she broke the rules.

Over the past month, tens of thousands of disgruntled voters across the country have signed petitions to get rid of their MP.

So far 13 have announced they will quit. But all insist they will stay on until the next election, each pocketing severance payments worth over £50,000.



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