Anorak | Baroness Warsi: how to stay for free in London

Baroness Warsi: how to stay for free in London

by | 27th, May 2012

DID Baroness Warsi fiddle her expenses? The Sunday Times says Warsi, the co-chairman of the Conservative party, cost the taxpayer £165.50 a night for stopping at Dr Wafik Moustafa’s private house in Acton west London while attending the House of Lords in 2007 and 2008.

How was that price fixed? Warsi, who is based at her home in West Yorkshire, says she paid “appropriate payment equivalent to what I was paying at the time in hotel costs”. So. Why not stay at a hotel, then? Maybe she simply preferred the small lodgings of a GP, who was once a Tory parliamentary candidate for the Conservative party? Dr Moustafa says Warsi never paid him any money for bed and board:

“Baroness Warsi paid no rent, nor did she pay any utilities bills or council tax. It was an informal arrangement, so no tenancy contract was drawn up…I’m not exactly sure how many days she stayed in total, but I believe my home was her main London residence [at the time].”

That was generous of him.

Also at the doctor’s home was Naweed Khan, at the time a member of Conservative Campaign HQ staff. Says Warsi:

“For the nights that I stayed as a guest of Naweed Khan, I made an appropriate payment equivalent to what I was paying at the time in hotel costs.”

Kahn replies:

“I confirm she made a financial payment on each occasion, which compensated for the inconvenience caused and additional costs incurred by me as a result of her being there.”

Moustafa says:

“He [Khan] introduced her to me but she came as a guest of mine. I even gave her the front-door key. Naweed Khan never paid me any money.”

Still, it’s easy enough to prove it one way or the other: show us the receipts and invoices. Problem is there might not be any. One thing we learned from the expenses scandal is that at the time of Warsi’s Acton stays, members of the House of Lords did not have to provide receipts for expenses incurred in the line of duty.

Labour MP John Mann puts the argument succinctly:

“If you are paying no rent where you are staying, you can’t possibly be claiming subsistence for staying there.”

A “friend” of Warsi tells the paper:

“On the few occasions when she could not get to a hotel and was staying in this property she claimed the overnight subsistence allowance — which was within the rules.”

The Times tells us that between October 15, 2007, and March 31, 2008, Warsi claimed £12,247 in overnight subsistence.

Warsi now owns a flat in Wembley. She bought it in 2007 but it wasn’t ready for occupancy until 2008. In the meantime, she stayed

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Posted: 27th, May 2012 | In: Politicians Comments (10) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink