UK: MPs’ expenses: Tony Blair facing questions over the £296,000 mortgage…Posted: May 18, 2009
Tony Blair is facing fresh questions over how he funded his multi-million-pound property empire after details of the former Prime Minister’s claims were leaked to The Sunday Telegraph…
The documents show that Mr Blair remortgaged his constituency home for £296,000, almost 10 times what he paid for it, months before he bought his town house in London for £3.65 million. Mr Blair was able to claim on his parliamentary expenses for the interest repayments on almost a third of the new mortgage on his constituency home.
The amount loaned was sufficient to cover the deposit on his house in Connaught Square, west London, one of five properties owned by the former prime minister, valued at £10 million in total.
Although Mr Blair did not break parliamentary rules, dozens of MPs appear to have used similar strategies to build property portfolios, which has given rise to suggestions that they “played the system”.
Mr Blair, who has earned about £16 million since leaving office, through public speaking, directorships and a book deal, bought his constituency home in Trimdon, County Durham, shortly after he was elected as an MP in 1983.
He took out a £30,000 mortgage to buy the house, later remortgaging it for about £90,000 to cover the cost of improvements and renovations.
The parliamentary Green Book, which sets out the rules on what MPs can claim, states that members can increase their mortgages to pay for improvements if they have the prior permission of the fees office.
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