Tory MP apologises for ‘gas chambers’ expenses email

Author: By Nigel Morris, Deputy Political Editor

David Wilshire’s remarks, on the eve of tomorrow’s publication of wide-ranging plans to overhaul the expenses system, provoked anger and embarrassment in the Tory leadership. The MP for Spelthorne, Surrey, has already been forced to step down at the next election after paying £105,000 of expenses into a company he owns.

In an email to constituents, Mr Wilshire protested that the “witch-hunt” against politicians would “undermine democracy”. He added: “Branding a whole group of people as undesirables led to Hitler’s gas chambers.”

Mr Cameron responded yesterday: “It is a frankly ludicrous thing to say and I think he should withdraw it. People don’t want to hear MPs sounding off like that.”

Mr Wilshire later apologised, saying he had been responding to some “very unpleasant emails”.

The proposals by Sir Christopher Kelly for cleaning up expenses are expected to include a ban MPs’ relatives from working for them and to stop MPs claiming for a second home if their constituency is within an hour’s commute from London.

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