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03-06-2009

Hall Green parliamentary candidate Salma Yaqoob has weighed in on the debate over Roger Godsiff's expenses - saying that the Sparkbrook and Small Heath MP should return more than £87,000 claimed for his "second home" in London where his family live.

With the re-drawing of Birmingham's parliamentary boundaries, Godsiff will contest Hall Green at the next election, and the prospective Lib Dem candidate Jerry Evans has already shed crocodile tears over the Labour MP's discomfiture.

Now Yaqoob - who will represent Respect - is saying he should hand the money back.

She said: "I represent one of the poorest areas in Birmingham. Thousands of my constituents are struggling to make ends meet in the face of a recession that is causing pain to many people. It is hardly surprising that there is deep anger at the spectacle of MPs enriching themselves at our expense.

"Roger Godsiff’s family live in a London home and are registered to vote there, making it his main residence in most people’s eyes. However, by claiming it as his ‘second home’ he has claimed £87,000 of tax payers’ money for it in the last four years.

"He should pay back this money.

"He has also made thousands of pounds worth of claims on his Sheldon home in Birmingham for ‘guttering’ and ‘shower repairs’, and even claimed for a lawn mower under ‘office sundries’. Oddly this home is not even in his constituency!

"Roger Godsiff’s behaviour smacks of contempt for his constituents and raises more questions about MPs abuse of the expenses system.

"We have heard enough to know that none of the three big parties have clean hands. Everywhere we look there is a new scandal. Enough is enough. It is time for a clear out.”

We will print Roger Godsiff's response as soon as we receive it.

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