One of the Government’s chief lawyers tried to claim get taxpayers to foot the bill for her Christmas tree and baubles.
Vera Baird, QC, the Solicitor General, put through a £286 expenses claim for “miscellaneous items” but Commons officials spotted that the receipts were for festive decorations and refused to pay.
Her £4,570 bill for furniture was also cut down because the items were deemed too “luxurious”, and she was told she could not claim £349 for a metal wall sculpture. However she did manage to get tens of thousands of pounds of public money to pay for a new roof, flooring, windows and a porch at her second home.
Mrs Baird, who is the deputy to the Attorney General, the Government’s chief legal adviser, has been the MP for Redcar, North Yorks, since 2001.
In order to claim Additional Costs Allowance she designates a flat in Crouch End, north London, as her main home and nominates a four-bedroom house in her constituency as her second residence.
In 2004-5 she claimed £4,309.20 in mortgage interest payments, but spent £7,916.30 on repairs, decoration and furnishings.
In subsequent years she claimed many thousands of pounds for various repairs and renovations. But in 2007-08, her expenses bill for Christmas decorations was rejected. The receipts show that she spent £29.97 in early December 2006 at her local branch of Woolworths on 24 baubles, 20 “snowflake” lights and an extension lead.