An MP under investigation for falsely claiming a council tax discount for living alone has defended herself by claiming that her only tenant was a friend’s DOG.
Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt, 51, received a 25 per cent council tax reduction for being a ”single occupant” at her home near Highbridge, Somerset.
However, she has now been asked to repay the money following allegations that BBC DJ Andy Kershaw and GP John Laband also lived at the address.
Munt is now locked in a row with Sedgemoor District Council which is threatening to involve police if the situation is not resolved.
The MP for Wells, who won her seat in May’s General Election, has defended herself by claiming that it was not Kershaw who lived at her home – but his dog.
She said: ”It’s important to realise here that if someone visits your house they don’t live there.
”I have known Andy as a good friend for over 10 years and in the autumn of 2008 he visited me from the Isle Of Man, bringing his backpack and dog with him.
”He went off to visit friends in Liverpool and Derbyshire while I looked after his dog during that period.
”Surely having someone else’s dog living with me does not mean I have to pay council tax for it too?
”I also had a doctor, John Laband, stay here briefly during his divorce, but I am alone in my house and do not have anyone else living with me.
”The matter has been complicated by the fact that Andy Kershaw is registered to vote from my home because he lives in the Isle Of Man, which is not a UK address.
”Under electoral rules, anyone can live abroad and have a UK address to vote for 15 years.”
Council tax rates are calculated on the assumption that at least two adults live in each property, with a 25 per cent reduction for anyone who lives alone.
Munt claimed for the discount but it has now emerged that BBC Radio 3 DJ Kershaw, 50, is listed at her address on the electoral roll.
Munt, who says she ”fully supports” the council’s investigation, also offered GP John Laband ”a place to stay” while his wife was filing for divorce.
She said: ”Every autumn Sedgemoor District Council carries out a comparison of its council tax register and its electoral register – and that’s when my situation came to light.
”I fully support Sedgemoor doing this check and it’s right that they follow up any cases where the two don’t match up.
”I’m not furious because I haven’t done anything wrong. There is no police action pending or underway and I have confirmed this with Avon and Somerset Constabulary.”
Duncan McGinty, the Conservative leader of Sedgemoor District Council, said: ”The council will seek to ensure that all money due is paid – if necessary by informing the police.”