A HARROW MP ordered to pay back around £10,000 of expenses he should not have claimed on his second home has defended his actions.

Tony McNulty (Lab/Harrow East) is due to give a speech to the House of Commons this lunchtime after a report found he breached the rules by allowing his parents to benefit from taxpayers money through his second home expenses.

John Lyon, the parliamentary standards commissioner, found he was entitled to claim for mortgage payments at the house, in Kenmore Avenue, Kenton.

But Mr Lyon found he should not have claimed as much as he did over six years because letting his parents live there as their sole accommodation allowed them to avoid significant living expenses.

Mr McNulty said the fact his parents lived in the house did not increase the cost of his mortgage repayments and so did not cost the tax payer any extra.

H said he called the fees office in 1998 or 1999 to ask whether allowing his parents to stay in the house was within the rules and claims he was told it was.

He told the Harrow Times: “What John Lyon said is he doesn't accept that advice. He's entitled to do that retrospectively but it's not what I was told at the time.

“It's a reasonable conclusion to make but if that had been the advice given to me I would have acted on it.”

Mr McNulty estimates that over seven years he spent just short of 400 nights in the house, bought for £135,000 in 1998, leaving the taxpayer with a bill of around £185 per stay.

He claimed £72,528 in additional cost allowance between 2002 and 2008.

His claims of between £8,251 to £12,600 a year for the years 2004 and 2008 represented between 66 per cent and 92 per cent of the total estimated running costs of the house.

Mr Lyon said the arrangement with Mr McNulty's parents exposed the MP to a “credible accusation” that they were immediately benefiting from public funds.

He said: “In my view, Mr McNulty’s arrangements exposed him to just such a credible allegation and, as a result, it had the sort of outcome the rule was no doubt intended to avoid – damaging both the member’s reputation and the standing of the (House of Commons).”

The Department for Resources says it has no record of a call from Mr McNulty about the arrangements with his parents but accepts this does not mean one did not take place.

A statement submitted as part of the investigation says the department does not believe the presence of Mr McNulty's parents breached the rules.

Mr McNulty must pay back around £10,000 on top of £3,000 he has already returned for other inappropriately claimed expenses.