TORY party co-chair and Cabinet member, Baroness Warsi, has become involved in an expenses row. She has admitted failing to declare rental income from a flat she owns in north-west London in the House of Lords register of interests.
She claimed accommodation expenses from the taxpayer while she was staying with a friend, at a house he rented in Acton, west London. But the owner of the property denies that he received any income from her. Warsi was said to be claiming £165.50 a night subsistence allowance.
In a statement issued on Saturday night, Warsi said she bought a flat in Wembley in September 2007 but it was not due to be ready until the following year. While it was being finished she stayed predominantly at two hotels, but also for ‘occasional nights’ in Acton with Tory party official Naweed Khan, who later became her special adviser.
Warsi says she stayed there for about two nights a week over a six-week period at the start of 2008. She added: ‘For the nights that I stayed as a guest of Naweed Khan, I made an appropriate financial payment equivalent to what I was paying at the time in hotel costs.’ Khan confirmed that she had paid him for the nights she stayed there.
The owner of the house, Tory fundraiser Dr Wafik Moustafa, claims she didn’t pay rent, utility bills or a council tax contribution and had her own bedroom and front door key and usually stayed there from Monday to Thursday and occasionally at weekends.
Labour MP John Mann said he would be asking the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards to investigate, saying ‘it all seems very murky’.
In a separate development, Lady Warsi, whose main home is in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, admitted not fully declaring rental income from the Wembley flat after she moved out in June 2010.