Tory MPs told to repay expenses or face ban

LONDON Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:23am BST

Conservative leader David Cameron delivers his keynote address, on the final day of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, northern England, October 8, 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Conservative leader David Cameron delivers his keynote address, on the final day of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, northern England, October 8, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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LONDON (Reuters) - Conservative MPs who do not pay back excessive expenses will be barred from standing at the next election, leader David Cameron said on Tuesday.

The expenses scandal, which rocked parliament earlier this year, resurfaced on Monday with demands from independent reviewer Thomas Legg for repayments after he retrospectively tightened the rules with lower spending limits.

"If people are asked to pay back money and if the authorities determine that money should be paid back and they don't pay it back, in my view, they can't stand as Conservative MPs, that is the minimum point," Cameron told GMTV.

"That is the least we can do to try and sort out these problems of the past before going on to the future."

The Conservatives, well ahead of Labour in opinion polls with an election due by mid-2010, have taken a tough line on expenses in an effort to limit damage.

All the main parties have been hit hard by the scandal, which included taxpayer-funded claims for expenses such as duck houses and even in one case, pornography.

Legg, whose recommendations have been criticised as too harsh by some, told Prime Minister Gordon Brown to repay more than 12,000 pounds back on cleaning, gardening and decorating bill claims.

Brown has ordered his ministers to co-operate with any demands.

Cameron has been asked for more details about a house mortgage payment.

(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi and Matt Falloon; Editing by Steve Addison)

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