Labour peer Lord Bassam to repay travel expenses

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A Labour peer is to repay parliamentary travel expenses after accepting it would have been "more appropriate" not to have claimed the money.

The Mail On Sunday reports Lord Bassam, Labour's chief whip in the Lords, claimed the cost of travelling to and from his home in Brighton since 2010.

He also got an annual £36,366 allowance for overnight stays in London.

Lord Bassam said he had not been told rules were breached, but would not submit such claims again.

The Mail on Sunday reported Lord Bassam was making an hour-long train journey between his home on the south coast and London, claiming about £6,400 a year in expenses to cover train tickets and taxi fares.

Waiving the right

But according to the paper, as chief whip and because his main home is not in London, Lord Bassam is one of a small number of front bench peers entitled to the Lords office holders allowance.

The payment is included in his salary and designed to cover "expenses in staying overnight away from their main or only residence".

In a statement Lord Bassam said: "With my home outside of London, I have been in receipt of the relevant office holders allowance for the opposition chief whip in the Lords.

"At the same time, in accordance with rules laid down by the House, I have claimed costs for my regular travel to and from Parliament.

"While I have not been advised that any breach of the rules has taken place, waiving the right to such travel claims would perhaps have been a more appropriate response on my part.

"I will not be submitting any further claims in this way, and instead use the office holders allowance to cover those additional costs. I will also discuss with House officials the steps necessary to repay previous travel claims."