From tomorrow's Daily Telegraph:
David Wilshire, a senior Conservative MP, used his House of Commons expenses to pay more than £100,000 of taxpayers’ money to his own company, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Mr Wilshire claimed for more than three years for office assistance provided by “Moorlands Research Services”. Parliamentary expenses rules forbid MPs from entering into arrangements which “may give rise to an accusation” of profiting from public funds. But on Wednesday night, Mr Wilshire – the MP for Spelthorne in Surrey – admitted that he and his partner, Ann Palmer, were sole owners of the business.
The Telegraph has established that, between 2005 and 2008, Mr Wilshire paid up to £3,250 a month to the business. Extra invoices were also submitted and the total paid to the firm was £105,500. However, there is no official record of the company’s existence and it has never filed public accounts.
Mr Wilshire is now certain to face significant scrutiny from his constituents, already angry at his use of parliamentary expenses. Despite having a constituency 20 miles from Westminster, he has consistently claimed the maximum second home allowance for a flat in central London. In total, he has claimed £141,039 since 2001.
In a highly unusual arrangement with the fees office, he claimed thousands in monthly payments that he said went towards the cost of decorating and replacing its curtains and carpets in the future. He has refused to repay the money despite conceding that it has not all been spent.
With his main home in Somerset, he has also claimed more than £43,000 for travel since 2001.
Mr Wilshire ... is best known for his controversial creation of Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act, which he introduced “to prevent local authorities from promoting homosexuality”.Jon Craig adds on his Sky News blog:
the response from the Tory high command, so far, is measured. "David Wilshire is referring himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, John Lyon," I was told. Before expressing a view, the Tory leader will wait and see what Lyon's probe uncovers, I was informed.
It seems to me, however, that the accusations against Wilshire are rather similar to those against a number of Tory MEPs a year or so ago. And we all know that Cameron came down on them like a ton of bricks.