Ex-MP claimed thousands after standing down

Sir Peter Viggers
Sir Peter Viggers
Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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DISGRACED former Gosport MP Sir Peter Viggers claimed more than £32,000 when he left Parliament, according to documents released by Whitehall and the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

The Tory was forced to stand down at the last election, because he claimed £1,645 for a duck house on parliamentary expenses.

He also claimed more than £30,000 for gardening over a three-year period.

Tory leader David Cameron ordered him to step down at last year’s General Election, after which he was replaced as MP by fellow party member Caroline Dinenage.

The arrangement meant he qualified for a Parliamentary pension worth £1.1m.

It also enabled him to claim a ‘resettlement grant’ – a payment, tax-free for the first £30,000, handed to MPs who lose an election, to help them ‘adjust to life outside Parliament’.

A Parliament document shows he did claim the cash, which the alliance says was £32,383.

Portsmouth North’s former Labour MP, Sarah McCarthy-Fry, who lost her seat without being asked to step down, also received a payment, estimated by the alliance to have been for the same amount.

The group’s campaign director, Emma Boon, said: ‘These payments shouldn’t be made at all. MPs know they might lose their seats, because they stand for a fixed term. But taxpayers will be particularly angry to see Sir Peter Viggers, who was forced to step down in disgrace, taking this money.’