MPs Ann and Alan Keen have been ordered to repay £1,500 after breaking rules on the second homes allowance.

The husband and wife duo, MPs for Brentford & Isleworth and Feltham & Heston respectively, must pay up by the end of the current parliament.
A report by the Commons' committee on standards and privileges, published on March 11, said the couple had breached rules on expenses for the four months from June to October last year.

During that period, they continued to claim for the mortgage on their second home in Westminster despite their main house in Brentford being boarded up and briefly occupied by squatters.

Building work on their main home, where they have lived since 1987, began in May 2008 but the house was boarded up between December that year and the following October after the couple reached a stand-off with workers. According to the report they have since moved back.

Last Thursday's ruling comes just under a month after standards commissioner John Lyon upheld a complaint about the couple's behaviour.
He described their actions as 'a serious breach of the rules involving significant public funds', and concluded that they were 'equally responsible for what I regard as a serious misjudgement'.

The Keens claimed a total of £5,678 between June and October last year but were only asked to repay just over a quarter of that sum due to a number of 'mitigating' factors.

The report says the Department of Resources had twice given them permission to carry on claiming, they had not sought to make a 'personal benefit' and there were 'very difficult circumstances beyond their control'.

The couple bought their second home in Westminster in May 2002, claiming it was needed for overnight stays, despite living less than an hour from Westminster by public transport.

They claimed nearly £46,000 in second homes allowances between April 2008 and September 2009, but have already repaid £2,644 claimed during 2008/9.

In a joint statement, the Keens said: "We accept in full the verdict of the committee and are grateful that the members acknowledge the strong mitigating circumstances in our case."