CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

'MP WINS CLARIFICATION FROM DAILY TELEGRAPH OVER EXPENSES'

Tory MP Dr Julian Lewis complained that coverage concerning his £6,000 wooden floor was inaccurate

By Stephen Brook

Guardian Online –  7 Dec 2009

An MP has won a clarification from the Daily Telegraph after it reported that he had attempted to claim expenses on a £6,000 wooden floor. Dr Julian Lewis, Conservative MP for New Forest East, complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the coverage of his £6,000 wooden floor in the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and telegraph.co.uk was inaccurate.

The Telegraph papers reported that he had attempted to claim the new floor on expenses, when Lewis said he had only submitted a list to the Parliamentary Fees office asking which items he was eligible to claim and never made a formal claim.

The PCC investigated his complaint and decided to take no further action after the Daily Telegraph published a clarification on Friday.

"Further to our MPs' expenses coverage (June 2009) we are happy to make clear that Dr Julian Lewis never submitted a £6,000 claim for a wooden floor. Dr Lewis asked the Fees Office whether he could make such a claim and was told it would be 'extravagant'. He accepted that advice and no claim was made,"

the Telegraph clarification stated.

The PCC said it could understand both viewpoints, adding that it was "unlikely that readers would be materially misled" by the paper's reference to Lewis "attempting" to claim for the floor. But the PCC said that paper's inclusion of the complainant's name in the list of MPs accused of "stretching the rules" was "more explicit" in its suggestion that wrongdoing had taken place.

The PCC said the clarification was a "proportionate response" and that no further action would be necessary. In July Lewis had a complaint against the News of the World upheld by the PCC over expenses coverage.