SWINDON MP Michael Wills has lambasted press reports suggesting he wrongly claimed expenses for his wife’s travel costs.

Mr Wills, Labour MP for North Swindon, says he was misrepresented by The Daily Telegraph which claimed he had wrongly claimed for his wife’s car hire.

The minister vehemently denies the allegation, saying that the car hire claim was not only legitimate, it saved money.

“I am not facing questions over items purchased at taxpayers’ expense during the past financial year – not least because travel costs are not items purchased at taxpayers’ expense and these are legitimate travel costs.”

Mr Wills, who works at the Ministry of Justice, claimed more than £300 for the use of the hire car driven by his wife Jill. MPs can claim under travel allowance for up to 15 return journeys by their spouses a year.

In yesterday’s edition of the Telegraph it was claimed that Mr Wills admitted it was a mistake to claim the cost of his wife’s hire car on his office account. The paper said that Mr Wills later claimed that the cost of the trips would have been allowable under his travel allowance.

“This was so misleading as to verge on the untrue,” he said.

“I did not agree it was a mistake to claim this amount. It was a mistake to claim it under this header, which I did on the advice of the Fees office. It should have been claimed under the travel heading.

“I did not add that the costs ‘would have been’ allowable under my travel allowance. They are allowable under my travel allowance and they are being allowed under my travel allowance.”

Mr Wills said he and his wife chose to hire the car as it would be cheaper to do so than to take the train, lowering his expenses bill.

“The only reason my wife was hiring a Street Car to make journeys to and from the constituency was to save the taxpayer money,” he said.

“It is far cheaper – though more stressful for her – than claiming the train fares to which we are entitled.”