Julie Kirkbride, the MP who faced questions over expenses she claimed for digital cameras and two photo shoots, has been chosen to open a photography exhibition in the West Midlands.

The Conservative MP for Bromsgrove has been booked to open the annual exhibition of the Disabled Photographers’ Society (DPS) on 29 October.

The exhibition will showcase the work of DPS members and include images from the society’s latest competition.

In May, Kirkbride defended her use of taxpayers’ money to claim for a digital camera and printer that she had bought in 2006/2007. The kit was delivered to her brother Ian. She had also claimed £220 for a digital camera in 2005.

The expenses details were exposed in an investigation by The Daily Telegraph.

In an unpublished response to the Telegraph‘s questions, Kirkbride said at the time: ‘These items were exclusively for my use as an MP? I record my work as an MP in pictures. These items were bought by my brother, on my instructions, on the net to find the best value deals.’

On her website, Kirkbride also defended claims for two publicity photo shoots totalling more than £1,000, submitted in 2004 and 2006. 

In one of the photos she is pictured standing in a field beside a bale of hay.

Today, many MPs return to work to find out whether they will need to repay any money claimed, following an audit carried out by Sir Thomas Legg, a former civil servant.

Meanwhile, commenting on the exhibition, the society’s chairman Tom Molloy said: ‘If anyone who has been reluctant to take up photography, because of a disability, comes to the exhibition, he or she will see images which show clearly that photographers with disabilities can be just as successful as those who are fully abled.

‘The exhibition shows the work of the whole of the society’s membership, from beginners to more advanced photographers, and includes entries from those with minor disabilities as well as those who have severe disabilities.’

The DPS show runs until 29 November at the Artrix Centre, Slideslow Drive, Bromsgrove B60 1PQ.


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