Osborne facing sleaze probe over expenses

Author: By Joe Churcher, Press Association

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards John Lyon said he would look into
complaints lodged by a Labour activist related to his claims for mortgage
interest.

In a letter to Laurie Burton, the chair of the local Labour Party in Mr
Osborne’s Tatton constituency, he said: “I have accepted your complaint
and am inviting his comments.”

In his letter, Mr Lyon said he would look into a claim that “Mr Osborne
claimed for mortgage payments that were not necessarily incurred, contrary
to the rules of the House”.

It is alleged that Mr Osborne took out a mortgage of nearly £5,000 more than
the reported price of his house and claimed Commons allowances to cover
interest payments on the whole debt, rather than just the cost of buying the
house.

“Since your complaint involves allegations relating to events of over seven
years ago, I have consulted the House of Commons Committee on Standards and
Privileges and they have agreed to me initiating an inquiry into this part
of your complaint.”

He said he put the claims to Mr Osborne, adding: “When I have received his
response, I will consider best how to proceed.”

The Commissioner said he would not launch an inquiry into Mr Burton’s other
complaint – that the shadow chancellor had “flipped” his second home and
avoided paying capital gains tax.

“This is a matter for HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs)”, he told him.

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