Erewash MP expenses row

NILALC100507A4 - Erewash election. Conservative winner Jessica Lee
NILALC100507A4 - Erewash election. Conservative winner Jessica Lee

Erewash MP Jessica Lee has defended the expenses she receives to rent a London property after being criticised by Cotmanhay councillor Brian Lucas.

MS Lee jointly rents a flat with fellow Tory MP Stuart Andrew while already owning a London flat for which she receives a rental income.

Cllr Lucas said in an email to the Advertiser that he felt the MP was using the parliamentary system to benefit herself at a time when many of her constituents were struggling to get by.

He said: “At a time when cuts and the cost of living soars, changes to benefits for unemployed and disabled people are being made and ordinary people are now finding themselves using food banks to provide their next meals how can this be ethically correct?

“We are being told we are all in this together but there seem to be some who are less in it than others.”

Ms Lee’s London flat was listed under land and property in a December edition of the House Of Commons Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

Cllr Lucas contacted the Advertiser after reading an article by political blogger Guido Fawkes in which a spokesman for Mr Andrew confirmed the joint rent he and Ms Lee paid on the London property they shared was £2,860 a month.

Responding to Cllr Lucas’ comments in a statement to the Advertiser Ms Lee said: “The most important point to make is that I live in my constituency and am very happy to do so. Erewash is my home.

“It is no secret at all, and has been on my register of interests since becoming an MP, that I have owned a flat for years and have to rent it out because I have been unable to sell it so far.

“I am neither a millionaire nor supported by a trade union and, like most people, I cannot afford to run two homes at once.

“I have nothing to hide and will discuss my expenses with any constituent at any time at one of my weekly surgeries.”