MP Hugo Swire delays listing expenses claims

EAST Devon MP Hugo Swire has said he will reveal what items he has bought with tax payers' money later this month.

The Conservative claims the information cannot be released before June 10, because of issues with data protection.

A spokesperson for Mr Swire, who said the MP was currently canvassing in his area, said: ""He believes his claims are straightforward. But he will pay back any sum demanded, if that is found not to be the case.""

The announcement comes following mounting calls for him to disclose his expenses.

Constituents are concerned he appears to contradict his own recommendations, published in the Exmouth Journal earlier this month, when he urged his party members to publish any expense claim on the Conservative website.

The delay comes despite Tory leader David Cameron's orders for shadow cabinet members to publish their expense claims online in a bid to rebuild trust in politics.

To date, Mr Swire has failed to list his expenses, including how much he pays his wife, who works as his assistant, out of the £88,271 staffing allowance he claimed last year.

He also collected £22,802 for his second home allowance - £281 short of the maximum £22,083 allowed in the 2007 and 2008 parliamentary year. In total, he claimed £151,616 in expenses.

At the time, he told The Journal , a sister publication of the Herald, there had been some ""unacceptable abuses"" of the expenses system in place for MPs.

He said: ""A Tory party that aspires to be the next government has to lead by example. That is totally understood by me, my colleagues and certainly our leader.

""MPs should be above suspicion. David (Cameron) recognises the anger among the public and so do I.""

East Devon residents have called on the MP to explain himself.

David Saunders, former Conservative member of Hampshire County Council and now a Sidmouth resident, said: ""I believe voters are entitled to the highest standards of probity from those elected to public office.

""Daylight is the best disinfectant to clean up the culture at Westminster and less spin from MPs about their expenses funded by taxpayers.""

He also questioned why Mr Swire previously defied the party line to block measures to reform MPs expenses.

Mr Swire argued it was because the reforms did not go far enough.

Sidmouth resident Tony Badcock said: ""With the current furore over MPs expenses none of us know what to think of our local MPs. In the interests of transparency, Hugo Swire must publish a full itinerary of his expenses. After all, Mr Swire himself said that 'all MPs should be above suspicion.