Gerald Kaufman charged the taxpayer £1,851 for a rug he imported from a New York antiques centre and tried to claim £8,865 for a television.
The former environment minister was asked to attend a meeting with officials from the parliamentary fees office to discuss details of another claim relating to £28,834 of work on the kitchen and bathroom at his London flat.
He told them that the work was necessary because he was “living in a slum”, though his second home, off Regent’s Park, is in one of the most fashionable areas of the capital. He was eventually reimbursed for £15,329.
On one occasion he asked a civil servant “why are you querying these expenses?” and on another threatened to make a complaint unless a dispute was settled by noon on the day in question. In one document, an official in the fees office noted that invoices Sir Gerald had submitted took him to “within 6p” of his annual limit. He also claimed £1,262 for a gas bill that was £1,055 in credit.
Between 2001 and 2008 the Manchester Gorton MP, one of the Labour party’s longest-serving members, claimed a total of £115,109 in additional costs allowances on his London flat, which he owns outright. In June 2006, he submitted a claim for three months’ expenses totalling £14,301.60, which included £8,865 for a Bang & Olufsen Beovision 40in LCD television. The maximum amount MPs are allowed to claim for TVs is £750.
On July 7, 2006 the fees office wrote to Sir Gerald to say: “I regret to inform you that this item falls within the not allowable category of luxurious furnishings, and as such has been rejected.”
He was paid £750.