MPs are in hot water again over the profits they make selling tax-payer subsidised homes.
The Daily Mirror has today published a list of 160 MPs who have sold homes for a total profit of £42 million, generated partly via Parliament’s discredited expenses system which allows them to claim interest payments on their second home mortgages.
The average profit made per sale was £255,000 although 20 of the MPs made more than £500,000 in gross profit.
Several high-profile MPs are named in the report including one potential future Conservative leader – Environment Secretary Michael Gove who made a £870, 000 gross profit selling two homes.
Others include Sir Graham Brady, Chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, and former Culture Secretary Maria Miller.
Not all politicians in the report have raked it in – three Labour MPs made a loss on their property sales including former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
Parliamentary expenses reformers have called on the rules to be changed and for MPs to return any profits they derive from selling taxpayer-funded properties, as former Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg did in 2011 when he sold his second home for £40,000 more than he bought it for.
“It’s an open and shut case, of course they should pay it back,” says former MP and journalist Martin Bell.
“There is the spirit of the law, why are they making a personal profit from allowances which they receive from the taxpayer? In this case they very clearly are.
“Most people would agree. It is public money that has been spent and it gives quite the wrong impression if MPs make a profit in that way.”