WEST Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has defended spending taxpayers’ money on a cleaner for his second home in London – while he was back in his constituency.

Fresh details about MPs expenses, published this week, show Mr Liddell-Grainger claimed back the £50-a-week cost of employing a cleaner at his parliamentary home in Lambeth between April 2008 and February 2009.

The claims include the 12-week period from July to October when Parliament was in its summer recess, and three weeks in December and January during the Christmas recess.

Mr Liddell-Grainger told the County Gazette: “It’s more important to have a cleaner when there’s nobody there. In London, you do not want a property uninhabited.

“Dust settles – I wish I could turn off dust but I can’t.

“Also there were times during the summer when I was back in Lambeth staying in the property.

“I have stopped claims for the cleaner because you cannot claim for cleaners anymore.

“I accept the rules but £50-a-week is very close to the minimum wage.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger also defended his claims for £375-a-month on food over the same period.

He said he used the money to feed himself and his wife Jill while he stayed in Lambeth.

“It only works out as £50-a-week for each of us,” he said.

The figures also show Mr Liddell-Grainger claimed £600 for a new toilet and £2,000 for a new boiler. He told the County Gazette both were in a state of disrepair and needed replacing.

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