Carmichael attacks expenses review for lack of attention to detail

Alistair Carmichael has criticised the review into MPs’ expenses after auditors sought details of mortgage payments on his London home from 2004 to 2006 – a time when he did not have a second mortgage.

The Orkney and Shetland MP said he was in rented accommodation during the two year span in question, and can not provide details of mortgage interest being asked of him.

The apparent blunder follows the investigation into MPs’ expenses led by Sir Thomas Legg which has resulted in many MPs being ordered to pay back sums of money.

Mr Carmichael, who bought a second home in 2006, said more attention to detail should have been paid during the process.

He said since then he had always supplied mortgage details to the parliament’s fees office. Many of his colleagues at Westminster, he said, had experienced the same problems.

“One of the things they have asked for is mortgage interest running from 2004,” he said. “I didn’t have a mortgage in 2004.

“It’s disappointing that what has been an expensive and supposedly very thorough audit has not been able to identify the difference between rent and mortgage.”

Mr Carmichael said he would be willing to pay back almost £400 for duplicate claims over phone bills and penalties for late payments on a service charge and council tax bill.

However he said he would be checking the figures himself before handing over the money. “I want to check the sums they have identified as being as overpaid because there is a significant capacity for error,” he said. “But once I’ve checked the figures I will be happy to pay that back.”


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