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British PM told to repay expenses -

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ELEANOR HALL: The British Prime Minister has been asked to repay $22,000 in parliamentary expenses.

An independent audit of MPs' expenses revealed that Gordon Brown had claimed for the cost of
cleaning his second home and for gardening expenses.

The expenses rorts scandal which was exposed earlier this year continues to disgust voters, as
Europe correspondent Emma Alberici reports.

EMMA ALBERICI: Every member of the British Parliament came back from the summer recess to find a
letter in their pigeon hole from Sir Thomas Legg. The former civil servant had just completed a
seven month review of the discredited expenses system. They were either given the all clear, asked
to explain a claim, or to pay back money.

Downing Street confirmed that the Prime Minister had been asked to reimburse the Parliament to the
tune of $22,000. The sum represents excessive claims on bills he'd submitted for cleaning,
gardening and general maintenance on his second home.

At his party's annual conference, Gordon Brown had committed to cleaning up the system.

GORDON BROWN: But there are some who let our country down, and never again should a Member of
Parliament be more interested in the value of their allowances than the values of their


And never again should it be said of any Member of Parliament that they are in it for what they can
get. All of us should be in Parliament for what we can give.

EMMA ALBERICI: All three of the party leaders in Britain will now be giving something. Nick Clegg
of the Liberal Democrats - $1,500 in over claimed gardening expenses. The Conservatives' David
Cameron - an explanation for his claim for mortgage interest.

The Tory leader was trying to take the moral high ground, even though his own party has paid close
to half a million dollars back into the public purse, including $1,500 for repairs to David
Cameron's second home - things like clearing wisteria and vines from a chimney.

DAVID CAMERON: Right from the start I said that Members of Parliament needed to pay back money,
that's why in the Conservative Party we set up the scrutiny panel, and I've said to my MPs,
everyone must take part in this new process, must respond to the letters and must of course comply
with the eventual determination of how much money is paid back.

EMMA ALBERICI: After months insisting she'd done nothing wrong in claiming for her second home, the
former home secretary Jacqui Smith was told that she had clearly breached the rules. A
parliamentary watchdog forced her to apologise for designating the apartment she occasionally
shared with her sister in London as her first home for the purposes of expenses.

This allowed her to claim $110,000 worth of expenses on her family home in Redditch in the UK's
midlands region.

There was also the matter of the pornographic film her husband claimed on his wife's parliamentary
expenses account.

JACQUELINE SMITH: I want to apologise unreservedly to the House, as I have to my constituents, for
wrongly claiming for the cost of films, alongside my broadband and cable connection.

EMMA ALBERICI: It was a harrowing day for the Prime Minister just months out from a general
election. He wanted to show that he was reining in the budget deficit, which at $310 billion is the
biggest in the advanced world.

But while he was talking about asset sales, jokes were flying about whether more money might be
raised if MPs simply paid back their false expense claims.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Europe correspondent Emma Alberici.