THEY had been dubbed Mr and Mrs Expenses by the media but new revelations that Ann and Alan Keen claimed for private hospital care, tax advice and unblocking toilets has left the public more furious than ever.

Health Minister Mrs Keen, who represents Brentford and Isleworth, has faced calls to resign her Government post after she claimed £232 for private hospital treatment on expenses and charged the taxpayer for an accountant to fill in her tax forms.

And Mr Keen, who represents Feltham and Heston, has not fared much better under scrutiny – he claimed £88 to have a toilet unblocked, bought four shredding machines in less than a year out of the public purse and claimed for food including fig rolls, Gruyere cheese, pate and doughnuts.

Mrs Keen – a former nurse – claimed £232 for an x-ray and consultation for an unnamed person at the luxury Blackheath hospital in 2005. Her ministerial role involves championing the NHS yet she charged the taxpayer for treatment at the 65-room hospital with en suite rooms and satellite TV.

She refused to comment on the claim when the Chronicle contacted her and Andrew Dakers, who will stand against her at the next election, said: “What we need is an urgent explanation from her. Was it for her and how can she represent the NHS if she is paying for private healthcare at the expense of taxpayers?”

The couple are already under fire for claiming their empty house in Brentford is the home they spend the most time in but Mr Keen told the Chronicle they had done nothing wrong.

“All our claims have been beyond reproach and there are many thousands of pounds we were entitled to claim under the rules but have chosen not to,” he said.

Ten claims under scruitiny - see page 2


FOOD - £67.70
In February 2008, Mr Keen made a claim for £67.70 for food from Tesco. Among the items claimed for were fig rolls, Gruyere cheese, pate, olive oil, doughnuts, chutney and dried mint. Mr Keen says the food was subsistence for an intern who was not being paid a salary.

The Green Book – the MPs expenses bible – says: “A flat-rate sum of £25 may be claimed for any night which a Member spends away from his or her main home on parliamentary business. No other payment in respect of subsistence may be claimed.”

SHREDDERS - £360.74
In his 2007/08 expenses, Mr Keen charged the taxpayer £360.74 for four shredding machines in ten months. In April 2007 he spent £270.74 on two shredders from PC World, in September he added to his collection with the £49.99 Ultra Cross Cut model from Tesco and he completed the set with the £39.99 purchase of the Tesco Executive Cross Cut in January 2008.

Mr Keen said: “Each week my staff and I, in normal circumstances, work from four separate locations. Shredding machines are necessary because of the amount of confidential paperwork that we deal with.”

In 2005, Mrs Keen, a health minister and former nurse, claimed £232 for an x-ray and consultation for an unnamed person at the luxury Blackheath hospital.

The hospital boasts 65 en-suite rooms with satellite television – a different prospect from the Keens local West Middlesex NHS hospital.
The name of the patient has been removed from the receipt and Mrs Keen refused to comment on the claim.

In October 2005, Mr Keen paid a plumber £88.12 to unblock a toilet and charged it on expenses. He said: “It is difficult not to be sarcastic and say that I have tried to go to work without using the toilet but I will just say that it is such an obvious and a necessary charge.”

Mrs Keen twice spent taxpayers money paying accountants to fill out her tax forms. In 2005 she claimed £470 for the service and in 2003 she paid the same firm of accountants £352.50 for their help.

Under HM Revenue and Customs rules, most people are not allowed to claim the cost of employing an accountant to fill in a self-assessment tax form as a legitimate business expense.

However, Mrs Keen's spokesman said the Fees Office had recommended that MPs should obtain professional advice when submitting their annual tax returns, adding: “Without professional advice, there is a great danger that an MP would be taxed on office expenditure despite it not being an income.”

In October 2006 Mr Keen spent £299.99 on a state-of-the-art Tom Tom satellite navigation system. Less than six months later he spent £179.99 on another Tom Tom sat nav device. He said they were needed for him and his constituency manager to find their way to meetings.

In April 2004, Ann Keen claimed £207 to pay a photographer to take photos of her opening Brentford Police Station. She later paid the same photographer £310 to take photographs of her with 'various people' at a conference and then charged the cost to the taxpayer.

Her spokesman said: “The cost of photographs of MPs parliamentary work is part of the process of keeping constituents informed of their work. As with all other costs, the Fees Office scrutinise every claim before authorisation.”

In 2004/5, Mr Keen claimed £3,000 for 'various expenses' associated with working in an office at home on weekends. He did not elaborate further on what the 'various expenses' were but said they had been agreed with the fees office.

In 2006 and 2007, the couple were claiming between £165 and £265 each month for cleaning services, including ironing. Mr Keen said: “For a limited period of a year or so, because of particular work pressures, we decided to use the services of a professional cleaning company. This is an allowable expense which we could always utilise but we have used it only for sparingly over the years.”

In January 2008 Mr Keen claimed £4,371 for the delivery of 40,000 calendars and 40,000 newsletters to constituents. He said they were a reasonable expense as they had his contact details on them.

In February 2007 Mrs Keen claimed £9,525.44 from her communications allowance for the printing and delivery of 40,000 newsletters to constituents. A spokesman for Mrs Keen said: “This allowance can only be used for Parliamentary information and not for party-political purposes, and the content is monitored very closely by the House of Commons authorities to ensure that it is used properly.”


“How dare they exploit me and their constituents with such impunity. We expect our MPs to be upstanding, to serve, and to exercise sound judgement. The Keen's have failed on all counts.

“This is nothing short of legalised mugging, and if they have a shred of dignity left then they should do the decent thing and resign now, without waiting for the next election, which is just another opportunity to extend their allowances and add to their coffers.”
Paul Brownlee, Brentford

“They have had enough of our money, lets stop them get any more.”
John Williams

“What he has done is bad enough but she should resign immediately. How she can spout all this rubbish about the NHS and then go private is beyond me.”
David Barton, Hounslow

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