LONDON, (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will repay more than 12,000 pounds of expenses claims for cleaning, gardening and decorating after a independent review found he had exceeded revised limits over the past five years.
Media disclosures this year that members of parliament claimed thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money on items such as cleaning moats and swimming pools at their houses outraged voters who have had to cut spending during a severe recession.
The scandal shook public faith in parliament and stamping out sleaze will be an important issue at the next election, due by June, which the opposition Conservatives are tipped to win.
“We’ve got to clean up our politics, we’ve got to demonstrate that we are dealing with the problems of the past,” Conservative leader David Cameron said.
Dozens of members of parliament, from all major parties, have already said they will step down at the next ballot.
Independent reviewer Thomas Legg wrote to parliamentarians requesting the repayments after spending months scrutinising the expenses claims, risking their anger by retrospectively tightening the rules and setting lower limits on spending.
Brown will repay a total of 12,415 pounds ($19,680), made up of 10,716 pounds of excess cleaning bills, 302 pounds of gardening bills plus 1,396 pounds for decorating inadvertently claimed twice, his Labour party said.
He and Cameron have both criticised abuse of the system and proposed reforms to clean up parliament.
Cameron said he had been asked for more details about a house mortgage payment but had not been asked to repay any money. Nick Clegg, leader of the second largest opposition party, the Liberal Democrats, said he had repaid 910 pounds of gardening claims as requested by Legg.
Many other members of parliament were expected to be asked to repay money.