Further Controversy over Keens' Expenses

New details show they were claiming for life insurance

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Anne Keen MP
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The release of further information about the expense claims of MPs is likely to stoke more controversy concerning Ann Keen.

The correspondence released shows that Mr and Mrs. Keen sold a flat in the Covent Garden area in 2001 and stayed in hotels from October 2001 and May 2002. They told the Commons Authorities that 'despite some advantages' they had found staying in a hotel unsatisfactory and had decided to purchase a flat opposite the Festival Hall for £500,000. The flat is in a residential block with a gym and a swimming pool.

To do this they took out a mortgage with HSBC secured against both the new flat and their existing home in Brentford. They argued that it was necessary to increase the mortgage on their Brentford home to get the equity to purchase the new flat. The arrangement was sanctioned by the Commons authorites. Each month both Alan and Ann Keen would submit a claim for £1,643.50. Other MPs including David Cameron and Shadow Chancellor George Osborne have submitted similar claims for the mortgage payments on a second property.

As they are claiming for mortgage interest their expense claim shows no further details however according to the Sunday Times they also insured each other's life for £430,000. They claimed that the insurance premiums costing
£867.57 were compulsory though both MPs would have been covered by their parliamentary pension scheme. The following year rules were introduced barring claims for life insurance expenses.

The publication of the details of these expense claims and those of 13 other MPs follows a three year battle by Speaker of the House, Michael Martin, costing over £200,000 to prevent them being disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the Keens’ claims were within the rules. However, the system of Additional Cost Allowances is now under review and is likely to be scrapped.

May 26, 2008