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Tory who claimed brother's tech gear on expenses quits

Kirkbride scandal provides IT angle at last

Julie Kirkbride, the Conservative MP who claimed almost £1,000 from taxpayers for computer equipment bought by her IT consultant brother, will not stand as a candidate at the next election, she has announced.

Kirkbride has been placed under mounting pressure to give up her Bromsgrove seat by a series of damaging revelations about her expenses claims in The Daily Telegraph.

Equipment bought by her brother Ian included four routers, two digital cameras and three external hard drives. Julie Kirkbride said the kit was legitimately purchased and used for her constituency office.

She also claimed £50,000 to build an extension on her second home for Ian to live in rent free, claiming he provided care for her son. She also employed her sister on £12,000 per year expenses as a secretary.

Kirkbride is married to fellow tory MP Andrew MacKay, whose own expenses file claimed his job as a close advisor to David Cameron early on in the scandal. Last week he said he would not stand at the next election either.

Parliamentary records showed MacKay and Kirkbride had each nominated a different property as their second home, allowing the couple to claim expenses on both.

Also today, Margaret Moran, the Labour MP for Luton South who claimed £22,500 to treat dry rot at her husband's home in Southampton, said she would not stand for re-election. Esther Ranzten, TV's doyenne of amusing vegetables, had announced plans to oppose her at the polls if she did not step down.

It's now expected that dozens of MPs from all sides of the House of Commons will be forced to step down at the next election by revelations about their expenses. ®

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