Minister defends expenses claim for second home

A government minister has defended claiming the maximum expenses for a second home in London despite living just 19 miles from the Commons.

Helen Grant, who was recently appointed to the Ministry of Justice, lives in a £1.8 million home in Reigate, Surrey - outside her Maidstone constituency.

The Equalities Minister also rents a Thameside flat near the MI6 building in Vauxhall which is funded on expenses.

The Equalities Minister Helen Grant Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Mrs Grant is eligible for a second home allowance on Parliamentary expenses because her constituency is outside London and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) confirmed the MP's claim was within the rules.

A spokeswoman for Mrs Grant said her "constituency has been deemed by IPSA to be a non-London constituency and she is therefore fully entitled to use her rental accommodation allowance either in London or in the constituency."

The expense claims were uncovered in an investigation by Channel 4's Dispatches, which is due to broadcast a film called MPs: Are They Still At It? on Monday.