MPs in Sussex spent more than a quarter of a million pounds of taxpayers' money on their second homes last year, figures revealed today.

Detailed records of every MPs' expense claims under the additional cost allowance (ACA), which was designed to help members carry out their Parliamentary duties, showed Sussex MPs claimed a total of £269,752 in 2008/9.

None of the county's 16 MPs claimed the maximum £24,060 available to them over the year. But the most costly politician, Bognor and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb, came close by claiming £23,971 for his second home.

Mr Gibb's claims included £528 for oil heating, £875 for damp protection to external walls, £400 for hedge cutting, £45 for a chimney sweep and

£425 for a replacement sewage pump.

By contrast, Hove MP Celia Barlow did not claim a penny under ACA during the year, after giving up her second home and commuting to and from her constituency, while Crawley MP Laura Moffatt's claim of £38.70, for an outstanding electricity bill, left her with the lowest ACA claim of any MP in the UK.

The publication of thousands of receipts and invoices yesterday morning, including for claims made between April and June this year, revealed that MPs in Sussex continued to spend taxpayers' cash on items like televisions and services such as tree surgery.

Perhaps the strangest revelation came from the file of West Worthing MP Peter Bottomley, whom it emerged took out an insurance policy that would have protected him against kidnapping.

In the event of the MP being seized, detained or carried away by force, the MP's insurance policy with AIG would have funded a ransom of up to £25,000 to help get him back.

The policy, which ran for 12 months until September this year, would also have covered the cost of any reward to informants leading to the arrest and convictions of his captors, and any treatment by a psychiatrist within 12 months of his release.

When asked about the policy yesterday, Mr Bottomley, who claimed just

£1,143 of the £4,043 annual premium on expenses, denied all knowledge of the kidnap cover.

He said: "I didn't ask for it and didn't know I had it. I doubt I shall have to use it."

Claims made by Brighton Kemptown MP Des Turner included £2,456 for a new kitchen, £349.99 for a television, £159 for a wardrobe, £149 for a coffee table and £42 for an iron and ironing board.

Wealden's Charles Hendry claimed £831 for kerosene to heat his home, £110 to clean his septic tank, £1,000 for general cleaning and £120 for window cleaning. He also claimed £58 for pest control and £560 for tree surgery to cut back branches that were hanging over a public highway.

Lewes MP Norman Baker was given a final demand for a water bill for £200 in October 2008, and warned the balance would be chased by a debt collection agency or by court action if he failed to pay. Horsham MP Francis Maude also received a few reminder letters asking him to pay bills.

Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie billed taxpayers £840 for cleaning from July to November 2008 and a further £520 between April and June this year.

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert limited his claims to monthly mortgage interest payments of £1,893.

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton claimed £49 for pest control and almost £1,900 for bathroom and electrical work, part of which was requred after the bathroom boiler packed up, alongside a separate claim for £116 for sewage disposal.

Brighton Pavilion MP David Lepper's claims consisted mainly of £780 monthly rental payments, alongside utilities bills.

The Labour MP said yesterday: "As ever, for most MPs there won't be anything to get very excited about, despite the spotlight that has fallen on a few."

MPs' expense claims 2008/9




Second home claim

Nick Gibb

Bognor and Littlehampton



Greg Barker

Bexhill and Battle



Nick Herbert

Arundel and South Downs



Francis Maude




Tim Loughton

East Worthing and Shoreham



Norman Baker


Lib Dem


Nicholas Soames

Mid Sussex



Andrew Tyrie




Charles Hendry




Nigel Waterson




Des Turner

Brighton Kemptown



Michael Foster

Hastings and Rye



Peter Bottomley

West Worthing



David Lepper

Brighton Pavilion



Laura Moffat




Celia Barlow




TOTAL            £269,752.52