Conservative Diary

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Tory backbenchers to be the focus of tomorrow's Telegraph coverage

Picture 11 10.45pm BBC News reports "sources close to David Cameron" as saying the Tory leader is "appalled" by the latest round of revelations and that he is "considering whether to take disciplinary action".


10pm Details emerge regarding a further clutch of Tory MPs:

Douglas Hogg, former agriculture secretary - submitted a claim form including more than £2,000 for the moat around his country estate to be cleared, while the taxpayer also helped meet the cost of a full-time housekeeper, work to his stables and for his piano to be tuned.

Sir Michael Spicer, 1922 Committee chairman - claimed £5,650 in nine months for his garden to be maintained and successfully claimed for the costs of hanging a chandelier in his main manor house.

David Davis, former shadow home secretary - spent more than £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on home renovations and furnishings, including a new £5,700 portico at his home in Yorkshire.

David Heathcoat-Amory - claimed for more than £380 of horse manure for his garden.

Michael Ancram, former deputy leader - claimed more than £14,000 a year in expenses while owning three properties, none of which have a mortgage and are worth an estimated £8 million.

Sir Alan Haselhurst, the Deputy Speaker - has claimed £142,119 for his country home over the last seven years, despite having no mortgage to pay, as well as claiming almost £12,000 over five years for gardening bills.

Stewart Jackson, a shadow minister - billed the taxpayer for more than £11,000 in professional fees when buying a new home in Peterborough within a year of being elected to Parliament. He claimed more than £300 for work on a swimming pool and hundreds more for work to a “summer room”. Last night he agreed to repay the money claimed for the swimming pool.


9.30pm: Former Chief Whip James Arbuthnot charged for pool cleaning - money which he now says he will return - as well as claiming on two second homes concurrently at one stage in 2007. More here.


The Telegraph has posted its teaser for the evening in advance of publishing further revelations on MPs' expenses.

It claims that these will be the "most extravagant expense claims yet made by MPs", with news that "senior Conservatives have tens of thousands of pounds for work on their country estates, leaving taxpayers to subsidise lifestyles far beyond those experienced by most Britons".

CCHQ would appear to be already keen to distance itself from whichever individuals are to be named, with a press notice having gone out advising the media that "all queries about backbenchers should be directed to the individuals concerned".

It's not sounding pretty...

Jonathan Isaby


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