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MP allowances row will boost extreme parties, warns Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe - claimed the smallest sum for a second home
Ann Widdecombe - claimed the smallest sum for a second home

by political editor Paul Francis

Maidstone and Weald MP Ann Widdecombe has warned the furore over allowances could result in extreme parties represented in Parliament at the next election.

The MP also says she is concerned the ongoing scandal and reforms to the system may deter people from wanting to stand for Parliament and has questioned aspects of David Cameron's proposals to stop the system being abused.

Her comments come as several MPs exposed by the Daily Telegraph say they intend to pay back some of the allowances they claimed.

The MP, a former minister, said: "If this goes much deeper, people will turn against the main parties. I wouldn't be surprised to see some extreme parties represented at Parliament next time and that is bad news for everybody."

Audio: Ann Widdecombe talks to kmfm about the MPs' expenses row

While she accepted reforms were needed, it was important they did not act as a financial bar to people who had ambitions to become MPs.

She expressed concern that some elements of David Cameron's plans for his own MPs could also prove detrimental.

She said: "If you are someone on a modest income and your boiler blows up, you will not, under this system, be able to use any part of the second homes allowance to mend it. You will not have the flexibility that we all exercise in our private lives and it is one we take for granted; this would forbid it."

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