Fucking for Peace? "Interfaith Dialogue" is a Taxing Affair in once great Britain…

Labour MP spent £2,575 staying in ‘riot of gold, marble and silk’ hotel with girlfriend

By Daily Mail / Source

Hotel living: Khalid Mahmood spent thousands staying in an upmarket hotel in Kensington rather than in a second home  

Hotel living: Khalid Mahmood

Labour MP Khalid Mahmood is the latest to be sucked into the expenses scandal.

He stayed at a five-star hotel in London with his girlfriend and charged hundreds of pounds to the taxpayer as his second home allowance.

Mahmood, who is the MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, claimed a total of £1,350 for nine nights stay over a four-week period in 2004, when he stayed at The Bentley hotel in Kensington. 

He also claimed £1,225 for five nights stay in 2008.

Mahmood used the hotel after separating from partner Nasim Akhtar, with whom he lived in Wembley, though this address was not given on his 2004 claims form.

He checked into the hotel with then girlfriend Elaina Cohen under the fake names Mr Khaled and Eleine Mahmood.

Elaina Cohen, 45, Conservative candidate for Rochdale in the 200

Mahmood denies any wrongdoing. He said of the hotel: ‘It was close to the Tube station and it was easy to get to Parliament.’

 ‘How many hotels there are in London where you can get £175 rate and which are close to the Tube?’

  • A Paki knows a bargain when he sees one:

‘Because I regularly stay there I get a special deal and that is a bloody good rate.’

  • Fucking at rock bottom prices? Mahmood might be onto something…

Mahmood says he was living in Wembley when he submitted his 2004 claims forms and had given up his London flat in December 2008 as he preferred paying for hotels as and when necessary rather than paying for accommodation all year round.

The Bentley hotel styles itself as a luxurious five-star facility where staff are more 'like servants'  

The Bentley hotel styles itself as a luxurious five-star facility where staff are more ‘like servants’

Close by: Mahmood says he used the hotel because it was close to the tube and the rates were reasonable  

Close by: Mahmood says he used the hotel because it was close to the tube and the rates were reasonable

 

  • Money for nothing and the chick for free…?

 

He said: ‘My additional cost allowance (ACA) was higher in 2006-7 than last year because I was paying rent and I did not think that it was good value.

‘I think MPs should be given flats or hostels to stay in. I would be quite happy to do that.’

The Bentley hotel has been described as a ‘riot of gold, marble and silk, with staff who are more like servants’.

It charges £175 for a Queen Room, £210 for a Deluxe Twin and £265 for a King Junior Suite.

It says its rooms are ‘luxuriously designed’, containing ensuite bathrooms complete with jacuzzis and walk-in showers.

   

Claim shame: Roger Berry, Labour MP for Kingswood

A Labour backbencher claimed £169 for a toaster as part of a refurbishment package for his second home in London, it was disclosed today.

Roger Berry, MP for Kingswood, one of least prosperous areas of Bristol, claimed about £15,000 for fitting out the two-bedroom house Southwark, his receipts show.

Mr Berry’s bills over four years also included £979 on a television and DVD recorder, and more than over £1,000 on a washer dryer, documents published on his website show.

He also claimed £2,264 to fit carpets, £3,425 of building work and £1,880 decorating his lounge.

Mr Berry, who put the documents online, told the Bristol Evening Post: ‘The toaster is not an all-singing, all dancing one – it’s a type that will last for at least 10 years instead of something that won’t last.

‘The washing machine is an environmentally friendly type that is also built to last. I don’t think the money for redecorating the lounge is unreasonable – unfortunately that’s the kind of money you have to pay in London these days.’

He added that his claims on the ‘modest two bedroom townhouse’ had dropped significantly since 2004 because once items were invested in they did not have to be bought again.

The building work was for a new boiler which collapsed after he moved into the property in October 2003.

He said if the fees office thought the claims were excessive, they would have queried them with him.

The MP said he believed in the Freedom of Information Act, publishing full details of his claims himself.

Mr Berry favours an independent team being set up to go through MPs’ expenses.
Last year his claims came to £14,717 – about 60 per cent of the amount permitted.

A senior Labour MP today said he would be standing down at the next general election because of ‘health problems’.

Announcing his decision in a statement, former party chairman Ian McCartney made no reference to the expenses scandal that has prompted a number of MPs to retire.

   

Expenses scandal: Ian McCartney announced he was standing down as an MP for ‘health reasons.

But his move comes within days of his disclosure that he paid back almost £15,000 worth of his own expenses claims last year, saying that the system had put his reputation at risk.

Items purchased at the taxpayers’ expense include an 18-piece dinner set, champagne flutes and wine glasses, a £700 dining table and chairs and two sofas worth £1,328.

Today he said he had been urged by his family last December to take early retirement.

‘They have taken the brunt of the worry over my health in the past few years and have watched me agonise over what is for me a truly traumatic decision of retiring early from the only job I have ever loved and wanted to do,’ he said.

Hazel Blears did nothing wrong with her Commons expenses and should be allowed to get on with her job as Communities Secretary, one of her Cabinet colleagues insisted today.

Europe Minister Caroline Flint moved to shore up Ms Blears after Gordon Brown described her behaviour as ‘totally unacceptable’.

   

A member of the BNP offers a KitKat in front of MP Hazel Blears after Labour candidate Matt Mold won the Irwell Riverside by-election

The Prime Minister is widely expected to demote the Salford MP in a Cabinet reshuffle tipped to take place in the aftermath of next month’s European and local elections.

But, straying into what is usually regarded as the exclusive territory of the Prime Minister, Ms Flint suggested Ms Blears should continue in her present role.

Speaking to The Times, she said: ‘I think she’s doing a good job and she should continue to do that.

‘She’s one of the last people who would ever come into politics for financial benefit.’

Ms Blears came under fire when it emerged she had not paid capital gains tax on the sale of a property she had declared as her second home in order to claim expenses.

She subsequently sent a cheque to HM Revenue and Customs for the £13,000 that would have been payable.

But her position has looked extremely vulnerable after Mr Brown pronounced her actions ‘totally unacceptable’.

There have been reports that Ms Blears’ allies feel she has been unfairly singled out by the premier after he cleared other Cabinet ministers accused of similar behaviour.

Ms Flint said today: ‘She followed the advice. Hazel hasn’t done anything wrong but she has said herself that maybe she should have paid it and she put her hand up and paid it.’

The minister also defended Ms Blears’ article raising concern about the Government’s failure to communicate with the public. As part of the piece, the Communities Secretary also appeared to criticise the Prime Minister’s much-derided appearance on YouTube setting out plans to reform MPs’ expenses.

Ms Flint said: ‘What Hazel said – and we sometimes need to remind ourselves – is that we do always have to be thinking about what we are delivering, how we are communicating it and whether we are getting it right.’

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