Friday 15 December 2017

Expenses probe MP admits 'hard work' blog is 70pc fictional

James Tapsfield in London

A British Tory backbencher has admitted that her blog about her work as an MP is "70pc fiction".

Nadine Dorries made the startling admission to UK Commons investigators during a probe into her expenses claims.

While she was cleared of abusing her taxpayer-funded expenses, she was deemed to have "misled" voters.

Constituents in her Mid Bedfordshire seat were left aghast at her admission.

She claimed last night that she had meant to say that her blog was in fact "30pc fiction" and that she had been advised to "disguise" her movements by the police.

Ms Dorries also suggested that the expenses scandal that rocked Westminster last year had been about misogyny and that women MPs had been affected more than their male colleagues.

The Mid Bedfordshire MP had been accused of wrongly declaring her constituency property, where she allegedly spent most of her time, as her second home.

Allowances

The arrangement meant she was entitled to allowances worth up to £24,000 (€27,286) a year to fund the property.

However, standards commissioner John Lyon concluded that the MP had not breached the rules -- because she was actually spending the majority of her time in the Cotswolds.

But the commissioner took her to task about posts on her blog that seemed to indicate she was spending more time in Bedfordshire than she really was.

Ms Dorries responded in writing to the Standards and Privileges Committee: "My blog is 70pc fiction and 30pc fact.

"I rely heavily on poetic licence and frequently replace one place name/event/fact with another."

The revelations of Ms Dorries's "fiction" brought outrage from constituents yesterday.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's PM programme, Ms Dorries played down what she had written about her blog and claimed that the "fiction" was on police advice.

"Actually, I think I meant to say it's 30pc fiction . . . the police said 'well your blog attracts ... you give people dates, times, you tell people where you are, they can plot the regularity of your movements, they know where you are going to be, the best thing to do is to try to disguise that'."

Irish Independent

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