The Labour politician with the highest expenses claim of any London MP has denied that he was cheating taxpayers by claiming a second-home allowance while maintaining that his main home is a single-bedroom schoolhouse and seaside caravan 70 miles from his constituency.
Defiant Left-winger Harry Cohen said: 'When MPs were given this allowance they were told "Go and spend it, boys" and that is what I have done. It is my right.'
His comments come as The Mail on Sunday launches a petition to demand a full enquiry into MPs' expenses, to report within three months and NOT after the general election as is currently suggested.
Mr Cohen has claimed every single penny of the maximum £104,701 in Commons expenses in the past five years for his £375,000 property in his Leyton and Wanstead constituency in East London, on the basis that it is his 'second home'.
Astonishingly, he says he has claimed the full second-home allowance since 1990.
It means he has pocketed a staggering £310,714 in total - believed to be the largest amount ever claimed by any MP.
Yet he declares on his Labour website that he and wife Ellen 'live' in Leyton and 'spend weekends at their static caravan' on Mersea Island, an unspoilt stretch of the East Anglian coast.
If his real main residence is the Leyton house, it means his Commons allowance has funded a holiday home completely unconnected with either his parliamentary or constituency duties.
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