IN yesterday's Times, in advance of a visit to her constituency, Julie Kirkbride MP wrote what I thought was a well-argued defence of the financial and other arrangements she had made to make her life as an MP and as a mother workable. However, within a few hours of the article appearing she had written to David Cameron to tell him she had decided to stand down as MP for Bromsgrove. In that letter she said that the criticised building work she had undertaken to provide accommodation for a carer for her young son had been done with the approval of the Fees Office of the House of Commons. Also yesterday, Margaret Moran, MP for Luton, announced that she had decided to step down following extensive criticism of expenses she was paid for work at a house at Southampton. She quoted a letter dated 27 May 2009 from the same Fees Office confirming that in August 2007 and September 2008 the Office had advised that her arrangement for a second home at Southampton would be acceptable. The letter continued: I can confirm that the advice you were given at the time was wrong. Yesterday the BBC Radio 4's Today programme unearthed a retired former head of the Fees Office who said he thought some of the advice MPs had been given recently was questionable. Should we not hear from the Fees Office before the Daily Telegraph dredges more wrong-doing from its files?
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