ANGUS ROBERTSON HAS today flatly denied that he did anything untoward in the sale of a second property he owned and which was purchased with Parliamentary support.
A Sunday newspaper claimed today that Mr Robertson, who will be defending his Moray seat in the General Election on June 8, was left with a £60,000 profit when he sold his London home in December 2013.
He had purchased what has been described as a ‘small’ flat in Lambeth in 2006 for £227,500 and designated it as his second home under the rules for MPs expenses that were in place at that time.
It has been reported that he claimed almost £60,000 in mortgage interest with a further £4000 in stamp duty and legal fees. He then claimed a further £16,000 for repairs and furnishings.
When the MPs expenses scandal drew national headlines in 2009 and ultimately forced several changes to MP expenses regulation, Mr Robertson was one of many MPs caught up in the scandal – although, as was the case with many, he had done nothing wrong under the rules that existed.
It is, however, a statement Mr Robertson made in a local newspaper at that time that is being highlighted, Mr Robertson pledging: “I will not personally profit from capital gains accrued while mortgage interest was paid for with taxpayers’ money.
“The public purse will be reimbursed through full capital gains tax payments, with any remaining capital gains returned to the parliamentary authorities or to good causes in my constituency.”
Mr Robertson did not claim mortgage relief on the property from 2010, when the parliamentary rules changed – and because of that was told that he did not need to repay any capital gains. Instead he rented out the flat and claimed for hotel accommodation on expenses while in London on parliamentary duties.
Earlier today insideMoray contacted Mr Robertson to seek further information on the situation – we received by return the same statement from a spokesman that had already been given to the Sunday newspaper: “The flat was disposed of in the run up to Mr Robertson’s divorce and he did not profit from the sale of the flat. Its furniture and contents were distributed to Moray based charities.”
Mr Robertson’s Conservative opponent for the Westminster seat, Douglas Ross, called on Mr Robertson to provide details of the charities that benefited: “Angus Robertson made a very clear pledge that he would not profit personally from the sale of his taxpayer-funded London flat.
“He said charities in Moray would benefit. We now know he did make a handsome profit after using his Westminster perks to play the London property market, so it’s time he kept his word to the people of Moray.
“If he has a shred of integrity, he will name the causes to which he’ll donate the money.”
Mr Robertson’s former wife Caron continued to work for him at his constituency office for some years before their divorce. Last year he remarried.