How shameless top Tories claimed expenses for swimming pools, helipads, chandeliers... and even a moat
Senior Conservative MPs were facing the sack last night after spending thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money on cleaning moats, maintaining swimming pools and the upkeep of their country estates.
A string of wealthy Tory grandees submitted an extraordinary list of claims to maintain their stately homes.
The claims included the maintenance of a helipad, the cost of hanging a chandelier and bags of horse manure.
Tory Hall of Shame (clockwise from top left): David Davis, Michael Ancram, David Heathcoat-Amory, Stewart Jackson, James Arbuthnot, Sir Alan Haselhurst, Douglas Hogg, and Sir Michael Spicer
Conservative leader David Cameron said last night he was 'appalled' by the claims and warned he would take 'disciplinary action' against any MPs caught breaking the rules.
The disclosures, which are the most outrageous yet, will cause further public outrage of the lax parliamentary expenses system.
Commons rules make clear that 'excessive or luxurious' claims are not permitted under the rules.
But leaked documents last night revealed how a string of rich Tories milked their controversial second home allowance in full.
Douglas Hogg, the former agriculture secretary, submitted a claim form including more than £2,000 for the moat around his Kettlethorpe Hall country estate in Lincolnshire to be cleared
The taxpayer also helped meet the cost of a full-time housekeeper, the maintenance of his stables and for his piano to be tuned.
Sir Michael Spicer, the Conservatives' most senior backbench MP, claimed £5,650 for his garden to be maintained including 'hedge cutting ... helipad'. He also billed taxpayers to hang a chandelier in his main manor house.
Three Tory MPs - including James Arbuthnot and Stewart Jackson - charged the taxpayer to clean their swimming pools.
Time to act? Conservative Party leader David Cameron deep in thought during a visit to Harrogate District Hospita yesterday
David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, spent more than £10,000 of taxpayers' money on home renovations and furnishings, including a new £5,700 portico at his home in Yorkshire.
David Heathcoat-Amory claimed for more than £380 of horse manure for his garden.
Michael Ancram, who is the Marquess of Lothian, claimed more than £14,000 a year in expenses while owning three properties, none of which have a mortgage and are worth an estimated £8million.
Sir Alan Haselhurst, the Deputy Speaker, has claimed £142,119 for his country home over the last seven years, despite having no mortgage to pay. He has charged the taxpayer almost £12,000 over five years for gardening bills at his farmhouse in Essex.
Stewart Jackson, a shadow minister, billed the taxpayer for more than £11,000 in professional fees when buying a new home in Peterborough within a year of being elected to Parliament.
Mr Cameron was said to be furious about the scale of the claims which further embroiled his party in the scandal of MPs' expenses.
He said it was imperative for 'every individual MP to stand up and explain why they claimed what they claimed'. Then, he said, the public could decide at the ballot box.
'If there's a case of someone who clearly did break the rules and that was totally unjustifiable then there may be a case for action,' he said.
The latest revelations follow the disclosure that Mr Cameron's multi-millionaire frontbench have also maintained lavish lifestyles courtesy of the taxpayer.
Last night, the Metropolitan Police announced that it was considering complaints it had received about the expenses of six MPs, including Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, and Alistair Darling, the Chancellor.
Meanwhile, it emerged that Parliament is planning to bring forward the publication of details of MPs' claims after they were leaked.
Gordon Brown earlier followed Mr Cameron by offering a public apology on behalf of all MPs over the expenses scandal which has shaken Westminster.