An MP claimed £57,955 in second home expenses in four years without submitting a single receipt.
John Smith, a Labour backbencher, took advantage of generous allowances to claim an average of £14,488 a year – more than the average salary of a minimum wage worker– without providing evidence of any spending.
When he eventually made a claim backed up by a receipt, it was for home furnishings including a vase, a frying pan, a bath robe, beaded drapes and poster art.
Until April last year, MPs were not required to submit receipts for claims up to £400 a month for groceries, £250 for utility bills, £250 for telephone bills, £250 for cleaning, £250 for service and maintenance and £250 for repairs and insurance.
The MP for Vale of Glamorgan, in south Wales, claimed close to the maximum Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) in the four years between 2004/5 and 2007/8 to cover the expense of renting a small flat in London.
In addition to monthly rent of up to £560, he claimed the full £400 for groceries and several hundred pounds across the other categories every month.
In total the 58-year-old claimed £86,675 in ACA over the four years, of which £57,955 was for costs at his London address below the threshold for which evidence was required.