Bill Wiggin, a Conservative whip, has admitted claiming interest payments for a property with no mortgage for two years, but claims it was a mistake and that he is only “human”.
The MP for Leominster, a contemporary of David Cameron at Eton, received more than £11,000 in parliamentary expenses after declaring his constituency property was his second home.
But he and his wife owned outright the £480,000 home near Ledbury in Herefordshire, where he has gone on to breed chickens and prize-winning cattle, and had not taken out a home loan on it.
Mr Wiggin denies that he intended to claim a “phantom mortgage”, however, and says he meant to put his £900,000 house in Fulham, west London, as his second home.
But, The Daily Telegraph has disclosed, he submitted expenses claims forms to the Commons fees office for 23 consecutive months on which he had written the Herefordshire address, before officials queried his living arrangements and he changed his designated residence back to London.
In a round of interviews today, Mr Wiggin was forced to admit that he had claimed on the wrong property but said it was an honest mistake. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, agreed but said it was a “bad mistake”.