MP believes Parliament will return to principles

LUTTERWORTH'S MP has admitted that the dose of 'humiliation' meted out to politicians in the wake of the expenses scandal could help Parliament back to its first principles.

Andrew Robathan, speaking to the Mail this week after all his and other MPs' expenses were made public for the first time, said he was not embarrassed about any of his claims.

However, the Conservative deputy chief whip said that he and all MPs would probably be ultra-cautious about future claims.

Go to our website www.lutterworthmail.co.uk and follow the links to see every claim made by Mr Robathan dating back to 2004.

Mr Robathan said: "Having passed the Freedom of Information Act a number of years ago, I think our claims should have been made public much, much earlier.

"I also cannot understand why the claims have been redacted (blacked out] in the way they have been.

"Some of my taxi receipts have been left unblocked while others for the same trip but on a different day have been blocked off, despite being almost identical."

Mr Robathan is Leicestershire's thriftiest MP, although he says he prefers the term 'best value', and he was 621st out of 645 MPs in terms of his cost to the taxpayer.

But among his expense receipts were claims for the Who's Who (150) and Dods Parliamentary Companion (235) books.

Mr Robathan said these are publications he uses on a daily basis.

He added: "Another thing I have always been very open about is my second home allowance, as I claim the full amount.

"Myself and my family live in London during the week and at our second home in Lutterworth at the weekends, although I also spend time there during the week as well.

"I did not want to just stay at a hotel or bed and breakfast in Lutterworth when I became an MP – and when I was elected people said they wanted me to live in the constituency."

Another recurring claim in Mr Robathan's expenses is for taxi travel, a total of 926 during 2007/08.

He said: "I often get the taxi from Rugby Train Station to Lutterworth when travelling back but I have negotiated a half-price rate with one firm."

Mr Robathan said he is also trying to negotiate a cheaper rate for the hire of his Blackberry communication device, which costs between 50 and 60 a month.

He added: "Humiliation and vilification is not nice and humble pie tastes ghastly, but, hopefully, one good thing to come from this scandal will be to see Parliament return to its principles."