Julie Kirkbride, the MP who today announced she is to stand down at the next election, has defended her claims for digital cameras and two photo shoots on parliamentary expenses.
The Conservative MP for Bromsgrove drew public anger after The Daily Telegraph revealed that she had used taxpayers’ money to help fund a £50,000 extension to her constituency home, so that her brother could live there.
She had also faced questions over claims 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.
Kirkbride said that, in an unpublished response to the Telegraph‘s questions, she wrote: ‘These items were exclusively for my use as an MP?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, she 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.