Expenses row MP in ‘election U-turn’

Author: By Andrew Woodcock, Press Association

According to the ConservativeHome website, Julie Kirkbride told a special
meeting of the executive of Bromsgrove Conservative Association last night
she wanted to rescind her resignation.

Ms Kirkbride wrote to Tory leader David Cameron in May informing him she would
not seek re-election following controversy over the parliamentary expenses
she and her fellow-MP husband Andrew Mackay had made.

She claimed thousands of pounds in Commons allowances against their family
home in her Worcestershire constituency, while Mr Mackay – who represents
Bracknell in Berkshire but has no base there – received subsidy on the
property they shared in London.

The scheme meant all the couple’s accommodation was effectively paid for by
the taxpayer, sparking widespread anger among voters and an anti-Kirkbride
petition in Bromsgrove.

Today’s development follows earlier reports that Ms Kirkbride – MP for
Bromsgrove since 1997 – was reconsidering her decision to stand down.

When rumours first surfaced in July, Mr Cameron appeared to indicate that a
return was not out of the question, saying: “She decided to stand down. I
think that was a courageous decision.

“I haven’t been told that that has changed, but obviously she has to be looked
at by the Legg Commission. They are looking at everyone’s claims in
Parliament, and I think it is very important that that happens.”

ConservativeHome reported that party HQ is seeking an all-postal open primary
to select a candidate in Bromsgrove and that Ms Kirkbride told the
constituency’s executive that if she was cleared by Sir Thomas Legg’s audit
of the past four years’ expenses claims she would like to be considered for
the contest.

Ms Kirkbride could not immediately be reached for comment this morning. A
Conservative spokesman said: “We can’t comment while Sir Thomas Legg is
conducting his review.”

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