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Labour chief claimed £40,000 expenses to rent house next door

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Published Time: 15.05.2024 - 23:40:14 Modified Time: 15.05.2024 - 23:40:14

Pat McFadden, the party’s National Campaign Coordinator, used the unusual living arrangement for five years Victoria Jones/PA Sir Keir Starmer’s election chief claimed over £40,000 on expenses for rent on a constituency home despite owning the house next door

Pat McFadden, the party’s National Campaign Coordinator, used the unusual living arrangement for five years

: Victoria Jones/PA

Sir Keir Starmer’s election chief claimed over £40,000 on expenses for rent on a constituency home despite owning the house next door.

Pat McFadden, who as National Campaign Coordinator is one of Labour’s most powerful figures, used the unusual living arrangement for five years.

He moved out of his own property in July 2012, a month before expenses rules were changed to bar MPs from claiming for mortgage interest.

The revelations sparked accusations he had abused the “spirit of the rules” and prompted calls for change to stop taxpayers subsidising MPs’ property portfolios.

A spokesman for Mr McFadden said he had “complied with the IPSA rules at all times” and pointed out that he eventually sold his house for a loss.

The New Labour veteran, who was first elected in 2005, bought a newbuild home in his Wolverhampton constituency for £159,950 in 2006.


He lived there for six years, claiming expenses for mortgage interest of £547 a month, until he moved out in July 2012 because of the rule change.

That month he let out his house and moved nextdoor, where he started claiming the £625 a month rent on expenses as his constituency home.

His own property was advertised for £700 a month by a letting agent in August 2015.

The living arrangement was first reported by The Sunday Times in September 2015, by which point Mr McFadden had claimed £21,000 in rent.

At the time he said he was forced into the move by the change to expenses rules and that he could not sell the house he owned because it was in negative equity.

‘Not making any profit’

He told the newspaper that his living situation was “a direct result of the change in rules for MPs’ accommodation costs” introduced in 2012.

“I did not want to move out of my constituency home and did not want to rent it out. I have not sought at any stage to get round the Ipsa rules but instead to comply with them,” he said.

Mr McFadden also insisted he was not making any profit from the situation.

It can now be revealed that despite the criticism he kept the arrangement for a further two years, almost doubling the total amount he claimed in rent to £40,250.

He eventually sold the house he owned in November 2017, with title deeds showing that he made a £12,950 loss on the original price he had paid.

The Labour veteran separately owns a house in north London, which he bought in 2009 for £799,950, and which is now valued at an estimated £1.74 million.

‘Against spirit of expenses rule’

Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said Mr McFadden’s living arrangements went against the spirit of expenses rules.

“All MPs have a strong personal responsibility to ensure that they keep to the minimum the amount that they need to claim from public funds,” he said.

He added that IPSA should review the rules around constituency home allowances to “see what was in the best public interest”.

Parliament’s spending watchdog said that it does not take into account MPs’ personal wealth or property ownership when setting the rules.

“The IPSA Accommodation budget is there to ensure that MPs are not out of pocket from having to work in two locations,” it said.

Meanwhile the Tories accused Mr McFadden of “rank hypocrisy” given that Labour has repeatedly accused them of wasting public money.

‘Hypocrisy from Labour’

The party launched a major campaign last February attacking the Conservatives over “lavish spending” on hotels and restaurants using Government credit cards.

Gary Sambrook, the Tory MP for Birmingham Northfield, said: “Labour’s election campaign is being run by a man who used taxpayers’ money to subsidise a tidy property portfolio, owning two houses whilst living in a third – in total contravention of the spirit of the rules.

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