By Ian Dipple Monday 04 November 2013 Updated: 04/11 12:52
STUDLEY and Alcester's MP is at the centre of another MPs' expenses storm after claiming more than £5,000 to pay his energy bills.
Nadhim Zahawi made the claims for heating oil and electricity for his second home in his Stratford constituency.
He topped a list of MPs who claimed their energy bills as part of their expenses, following an investigation by the Sunday Mirror.
The investigation reported 340 MPs, including Government ministers, had used the parliamentary expenses system to recoup the cost of heating their second homes.
It found 41 MPs had submitted bills costing more than £1,000, while 78 made claims for £500 in the 12 months up to March this year.
Although the claims are within the rules, the cost of energy is a politically controversial issue as many householders are again facing rocketing fuel bills this winter, after four of the big six energy firms recently announced rises which averaged 9.1 per cent, despite energy industry regulator Ofgem reporting wholesale prices had only risen by 1.7 per cent.
Mr Zahawi, founder of market research firm YouGov and a close friend of Prime Minister David Cameron, was recently appointed to the No. 10 Policy Board tasked with developing the government's business policy. He has also sat on the Energy Bill Committee.
The Standard has contacted Mr Zahawi's office for a comment.
Coun Clive Rickhards, who represents Studley on Warwickshire County Council, said: "With the Government urging people to pull in their belts in all kinds of ways, MPs are beholden to show maximum restraint."
Redditch MP Karen Lumley is among 310 MPs who have not submitted claims for energy bills on their second home.
"If I lived in Redditch I wouldn't be claiming for my electricity and gas, if I did any other job I would have to heat and light my home and although I'm not in Redditch during the week, I take the view it's just something I have to do," she said.
"What my colleagues do is up to them, what I'm interested in is making sure what I do is right for me and right for my constituents."
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