Ann and Alan Keen, the MP couple who have been in the news regularly of late since Hounslow Council contacted them wanting to know why they hadn't lived in the property designated as their official main home for at least seven months and threatening to take possession of it if they didn't come up with some convincing reasons pretty sharpish, have won the legal fight to evict the squatters who moved into the house and hung a massive sign reading "reclaiming your taxes" on the front.
According to Commons rules on claiming expenses, an MP's main home should be the one at which they spend most nights. They are then required to foot the bill for that property, but are free to make claims to cover the costs of a second home nearer Parliament (nine miles away, in the Keens' case) - which is what the Keens have been doing with their £750,000 flat in Westminster, even though it was claimed in court that they had not lived in the Brentford main home since August 2008. Though the couple say that they have lived in the Westminster flat only while renovations are in progress at the main home - reports suggest that no work has taken place there in eight months - Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards John Lyon seems to feel the case is questionable since he has agreed to carry out further investigation.
Guido Fawkes, the king of political bloggers, raises an interesting conundrum. Pointing out that it may be merely a question of semantics, he noticed that during one court exchange only Mr. Keen was named as the Brentford property's owner. This does rather force one to wonder, if that's the case, how it was that Mrs. Keen was then able to claim expenses for the second home since if Mr. Keen is the sole legal owner of the Brentford house the Westminster flat is technically her only home and as such can only be designated her main residence. It certainly seems that she may have at the very least bent the rules somewhat there...unless, of course, there's a third property tucked away somewhere, of which she is the legal owner. You'd have thought that were that the case, we'd know about it by now but then again, when it comes to people of this calibre you never can tell. We'll be keeping a very keen eye out for anything interesting that the Commissioner's investigation may discover.