A Labour whip split a claim for stamp duty on buying his second home in London into two payments and tried to claim it back over two financial years.
Ian Austin completed the purchase of the Waterloo flat on March 31 2006 but submitted claims for the stamp duty in two separate amounts: £6,770 on March 28 and £1,344 on April 3.
This allowed him to claim the majority of the money under his second home allowance for the financial year 2005-06. In total, he received £21,559 — £75 below the limit — that year.
His claim for the remaining £1,344 was turned down by the parliamentary fees office.
However, the Dudley North MP was allowed to claim the legal costs associated with the move in his 2006-07 expenses. In that financial year, he went on to claim £22,076 — £34 short of the maximum.
Mr Austin also “flipped” his second home designation weeks before buying the £270,000 flat across the Thames from Westminster.
The assistant whip is one of Gordon Brown’s closest allies and worked for him as an adviser in the Treasury before he was made an MP in 2005.
When Mr Brown became Prime Minister in 2007, Mr Austin was appointed as his parliamentary aide before being moved to the role of Minister for the West Midlands last year. He was closely connected to Damian McBride, the adviser who left Downing Street last month after he sent emails suggesting possible smears for top Conservatives.