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Get daily updates directly to your inbox+ SubscribeThank you for subscribing!WEST Lothian's two MPs have this week defended their expenses after revelations of claims including almost for an alarm clock, almost for a television and for second hand furniture.Michael Connarty, MP for Linlithgow and Falkirk East, and Jim Devine, Livingston's MP, have both come under fire after details of their claims were made public.Jim Devine sparked controversy when it emerged he had claimed back in expenses to cover furniture bought from Mr Connarty when Mr Devine purchased the Linlithgow East MP's flat from him.And among the claims made by Michael Connarty were for a plasma television and for a kettle and kitchen scales, both from top end store John Lewis.The expenses, along with other items including for bedding and for an MP3 player docking system, were submitted while Mr Connarty was sharing a flat with Glasgow MP, Ian Davidson.However, the Linlithgow MP has defended the expenses for 2006 07 saying he had checked with the House of Commons' finance department before making the claims.He said: "Due to a change in my circumstances, I found myself without a London home after the lease on the flat I had been renting ended."At that time, my colleague Ian Davidson said he would put me up until I found somewhere and on that basis we agreed that we would split the expenses on it."We got an agreement that we would split the mortgage, so I would pay it one month and Ian would pay the next."As the flat was unfurnished, we obviously had to buy furniture and I agreed to claim items from my expenses for that."The receipts were all clearly marked as to which items were for Ian's flat and which items were mine to take away when I got a flat of my own."The television was bought because Ian watches a lot of television and wanted a quality TV. Of the cost was claimed, not the full amount."Everything I claimed for Ian's flat is still there, except for things such as kitchen equipment and a DAB radio which was claimed for as mine and which I now have at my own flat."Everything was completely above board and was approved by the House of Commons finance department."Mr Connarty said he believed his expenses claims were less than would have been the case had he used a hotel, or rented an apartment on his own.And he also defended claiming around back from the cost of conveyancing and stamp duty on a two bedroom London flat he now owns.He stated that he believes MPs work hard to earn their wage and that he entered politics to help local people."It is part of the agreement that if you buy a flat you can claim back the stamp duty," said Mr Connarty."Anyone who knows me knows that I have worked my socks off for 17 years for my constituency and that I became a politician to try to make things better, not feather my own nest."He also defended the sale of the furniture to Jim Devine.Mr Connarty said: "I had not claimed from the House of Commons for the furniture in the flat which I sold to Jim Devine. I had accumulated it myself over the years."And Livingston MP Devine said he had done nothing wrong in claiming back the price of the furnishings."I bought the flat and the furniture and then claimed back the price of the furniture as MPs are allowed to do," he said."I don't have a problem with my expenses being in the public domain, so I will be putting them online."Matthew Elliott, chief executive at campaign group the TaxPayers' Alliance, which stands up for taxpayers' rights, said MPs have been abusing the system.He said: "Too many MPs have been using the expenses system to splash out on high end luxury goods.
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