MPs have defended their use of thousands of pounds of public money to claim back the cost of digital cameras on expenses.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith is among the list of high profile politicians whose expense details were exposed by The Sunday Telegraph.

Derek Conway, MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, has claimed more than £1,800 on cameras – including a ‘Canon Digital SLR’ costing £675 – according to the newspaper.

Conway’s expenses in 2005/2006 also included, £253.95 for a Pentax camera.

In 2007/2008 Conway claimed £234.90 for a Sony Cyber-shot and further £669.96 for a ‘Canon digital camera’.

In response to our enquiries, Derek Conway told Amateur Photographer this morning: ‘I have, as a matter of course, kept a camera in the constituency and at the House of Commons.

‘We get many groups touring the House of Commons as guests and it has been our practice to take photographs of them which were issued to local papers and copies given to them as a memento of their visit.’

Jacqui Smith is reported to have claimed £1,600 for three digital cameras and a camcorder over three years. Her spokesman told Telegraph that the claims were made in response to ‘constituents’ needs’.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears reportedly claimed £219 for a digital camera, claiming that this was used ‘entirely for constituency work’.

Similarly, Harriet Harman, leader of the House of Commons claimed that a £230 Canon Digital Ixus was for constituency work.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander told the Telegraph that he used his £230 camera to ‘take photographs of constituency events’.

The list of MPs claiming for cameras also includes the Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon and Yvette Cooper, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Picture: Derek Conway MP told Amateur Photographer that he used cameras as part of his work at the House of Commons and in his constituency. His claims – totalling more than £1,800 – included the cost of a Canon DSLR and a Sony Cyber-shot compact (model shown here for illustration purposes only).


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