A HOUNSLOW councillor who moved to Portsmouth has charged taxpayers £575 for travel to council meetings.
Tory councillor Peter Pitt, who was elected in 2006, moved to Hampshire at the beginning of 2008 and has claimed for journeys back to his ward on expenses since.
The Chronicle has obtained details of all Hounslow councillors' expenses, which show that local members have claimed for flowers, used taxpayers' money to pay family members for babysitting and put flights to destinations across Europe on expenses.
Mr Pitt, who has a 30 per cent attendance record since he moved to the south coast, said he will stand down at next year's local elections and claimed he would have walked away earlier, but was advised it would cost £30,000 to hold a by-election.
He said: "I was more than happy to give my support to the current minority administration, especially in its policy of freezing council tax for the past three years. I am sure local taxpayers appreciate this.
"I have to say five hundred pounds in expenses for a year does not seem to me to be excessive, but that is for others to judge."
The documents released show Mayor of Hounslow Paul Lynch, who represents Chiswick Riverside, was spoken to by the claims office for claiming for taxis during the day.
On one form, on which Tory councillor Lynch claimed for a £20 taxi from White City to Hounslow, an official wrote: "Why getting cab instead of train? At 6.30pm?".
Mr Lynch said he has always complied with the rules and needed to take taxis to get from work to council meetings on time.
Councillor Caroline Andrews, of the Syon Community Group, has paid £1,875 to her father-in-law for childminding since August 2007 and was the biggest overall claimant for the 2008-9 financial year.
She said: "For the amount of work myself and my husband do, the taxpayers are getting value for money. We live in social housing and my 12-year-old twins share a bedroom, so if anyone thinks we are living the life of Riley they can come round and have a look."
The rules specifically forbid claims for expenses incurred while attending 'political group meetings', yet councillor Ruth Cadbury successfully claimed £325 for a hotel and £47 for petrol to attend the Labour Party Conference in 2005.
Ms Cadbury said she met ministers at the meeting as part of the council's fight against Heathrow expansion.
She added: "It would have taken enormous time and effort to gain anything like the same spread of access, if indeed it was possible at all, by not attending this conference, and I am confident that my efforts were of considerable value to Hounslow's campaign."
In 2006 Tory councillor Felicity Barwood claimed £90 for flowers for the Mayor's inauguration. She declined to comment on the claim.