TOP Tory John Gummer channelled almost £10,000 of taxpayer-funded expenses into his OWN FIRM.

The former Environment Secretary, already under fire for claiming to remove moles from his country estate, handed in a raft of invoices from a company called Sancroft.

Gummer is founder and chairman of Sancroft, based a stone's throw from Parliament in posh Queen Anne's Gate.

It is one of the astonishing revelations from the millions of controversially blacked-out MPs' expense submissions published by the Government this week.

The heavily-censored receipts show Gummer made at least 16 claims for Sancroft's services from 2004 to 2008.

They included repeated claims for the use of laptop equipment, many at hundreds of pounds a time. He also claimed thousands towards the recruitment and wages of a diary secretary who works out of Sancroft's offices and who he admits dealt with both his private and parliamentary work.

Tory John Gummer pays £10k in expenses to company he owns
VAT MAN: Receipt

Gummer submitted at least two claims - £2,400 and £1,808 - for recruiting the aide. He also put in an invoice from the firm for a £46.50 train fare.

Some of the invoices were for thousands of pounds. But one scrawled handwritten note submitted to the Commons Fees Office said simply: "Please pay Sancroft £4.86 VAT."

In total Gummer claimed at least £9,980 in payments to Sancroft.

The firm describes itself as providing "Corporate Responsibility Solutions" - giving advice on environmental, social and ethical issues.

Gummer yesterday insisted he had done nothing wrong, telling the News of the World: "I try to do things as cheaply as possible for Parliament. I am very careful about being extremely rigorous about the way in which I behave."

Gummer, MP for Suffolk Coastal, said he used his firm to get computer and mobile equipment cheaply.

Tory John Gummer pays £10k in expenses to company he owns
VAT MAN: Tiny bill

He said: "Because my company has a lot of communications equipment I can get the Vodafone connection to my laptop which I use for my constituency cheaper than if we did it separately." Referring to himself as of the lowest-claiming MPs, he went on: "We have got to be very careful that people who are 607th among the expenses of MPs don't find themselves accused of things when the truth is the opposite. I have paid more than my fair share."

Gummer insisted the arrangement of his diary secretary looking after his parliamentary schedule and his work for Sancroft SAVED the taxpayer money.

He said: "I have one diary secretary. You can't have two or you get in a terrible mess. I have always been insistent that there should be no payment by the public for anything which is other than absolutely parliamentary or constituency activity. Though she does almost all her work for the parliamentary and constituency side, I make sure half her salary is paid by the company."

Tory John Gummer pays £10k in expenses to company he owns
One claim of Gummers claims for own company

We can also reveal Business Minister IAN LUCAS claimed for work by the solicitors firm he used to own and where he is now a consultant.

Lucas submitted an invoice for £176.25 for legal fees for the lease of his consituency office and £894.50 for the sale of a property.

The money was paid to Stevens Lucas solicitors. Lucas said: "I have no financial relationship with the firm. It is an honorary position."

Last night Matthew Elliott of the Taxpayers' Alliance said: "In other countries it is illegal for MPs to use their families' firms. That should be extended here to stop MPs giving money to firms they are involved in."

SHADOW Defence Secretary Liam Fox claimed £18,572 for use of his MOBILE PHONE between 2004 and 2008.

He insisted his position required extensive travel and that the high bills were a result of roaming charges, adding: "This includes regular trips to see our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as trips to the United States."
Tory John Gummer pays £10k in expenses to company he owns


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