Halifax MP Linda Riordan rent revelation latest - watchdog to investigate the practice

Linda Riordan MP for Halifax.
Linda Riordan MP for Halifax.

The politicians watchdog is to investigate the practice of MPs renting their homes to other MPs after it was revealed Halifax’s MP Linda Riordan was making thousands by renting her London home to a fellow MP.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) says it will look into the issue as part of its next public consultation.

It says it ended the practice of MPs getting a taxpayer subsidy to own a second property after criticism from the public.

It says it has a system of clear rules for renting, capped budgets limiting how much MPs can claim and it regularly publishes details of who claims what and when.

It added that MPs are not allowed to rent from family members or other people who they share a business interest with.

“On the point of MPs having properties they rent out, this is an issue of their own private financial affairs over which we rightly have no authority,” said a statement on the IPSA website.

“We cannot say an MP should not own a property of properties, or restrict what they do with those properties on the open market.

“We have a system built on public consultation. We have found a balance between being fair to taxpayers and MPs.

“But, as at any point in the last three years, we invite anyone who has a view on MPs’ business costs and expenses, or indeed their pay and pensions, to talk to us.

“The next public consultation on the rules will launch in November. As part of this, we will consider the issue of MPs renting from other MPs.”

As reported by the Courier online, Mrs Riordan has been renting out her second home to a fellow Labour MP while she claims thousands in expenses to rent another property in London herself.

Mrs Riordan is thought to be getting a £19,000 a year from the controversial practice which is technically permitted under MP guidelines but has caused her to come under fire from critics.

She rents out her £400,000 London flat to MP Iain McKenzie.

Mr McKenzie pays her £1,560 a month in rent - £18,720 a year - which he claims back from the taxpayer.

At the same time, Mrs Riordan claims £1,473 a month - £17,676 a year - from the taxpayer for renting a seperate flat in London for herself.

She also has a home in Northowram.

Mrs Riordan, who was due to hold one of her regular MPs surgeries at Halifax Town Hall last Friday but cancelled it when this news broke, is understood to be one of at least 27 MPs involved in this practice.

She has responded to criticism about the rental arrangement by pledging to stop it when this tenancy concludes.

In a statement, she said: “Although this was within the rules set down by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and the arrangements were cleared by them I now recognise what the perception of this arrangement will look like to my constituents and the wider general public.

“I understand IPSA is consulting on this and other issues and it is right they look at it.

“For my part, when the tenancy concludes I will cease this arrangement.”