UK Education Secretary Michael Gove
Among them is Education Secretary Michael Gove
Campaigners last night demanded MPs who pocketed vast sums after flogging their taxpayer-subsidised homes pay back the cash.

On the 10th anniversary of the Westminster expenses scandal that shocked Britain, the Mirror can reveal 160 politicians raked in more than £42million in profits selling properties public money helped fund.

Among them are Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who made £870,000 on two homes, ex-Cabinet minister Maria Miller, who collected more than £1.2million, Tory Graham Brady and Labour 's Hugh Bayley.

These are the properties on which politicians reclaimed thousands of pounds in mortgage interest payments at public expense under the discredited old expenses system.

Under parliamentary rules they are entitled to keep the money. But with trust in politicians still low after the expenses scandal and the ongoing Brexit shambles, critics insist if MPs want to regain trust they should hand the money to the Treasury.
Uk flat

Sir Graham made £1.1m from the sale of his flat
Former chairman of the Committee of Standards in Public Life, Sir Alistair Graham, said: "People should not be making a profit. It was there to help them meet their public ­responsibilities. You should not be profiting out of special taxpayer funds.

"You should repay any gain you made over that period.

"The arrangement was made purely to take into account MPs who came from the North who would struggle to meet the housing costs.

"It would need to be carefully ­calculated but Independent ­Parliamentary Standards Authority has done this before and they can do it again. I don't think anything will restore trust, it's at such a low ebb, but it's the right thing to do."

Former MP, journalist and ethics campaigner Martin Bell added: "It's an open and shut case, of course they should pay it back. There is the spirit of the law, why are they making a personal profit from allowances which they receive from the taxpayer? In this case they very clearly are.

"Most people would agree. It is public money that has been spent and it gives quite the wrong impression if MPs make a profit in that way.

"I think it is only right and in the public interest that MPs are not seen to make a profit out of public money.

"I have always felt MPs should set an example. But there was a feeling then that MPs were charging the maximum they could. There was a fill your boots attitude."

When then-Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg sold his second home in 2011, he returned nearly £40,000 in profits to the Treasury, saying he did not want to be "holier than thou" but encouraged other MPs to "get out of the property game".

Few, if any, of his former colleagues appear to have followed suit.

Our investigation found MPs made an average profit of £255,000 on selling their taxpayer-subsidised homes, while millions of voters struggle to even get on the housing ladder. Of the 20 who have made more than £500,000 in gross profit, 14 are Tories and six Labour.
Michael Gove

Michael Gove made £870,000 selling two homes
Fourteen MPs have sold not one but two of these properties.

We found Labour MPs making an average of £193,000 profit on the sales but the Tories made twice this each, averaging £417,000.

Until 2010, MPs - except those with seats in inner London - were allowed to claim up to £24,000 a year for a second home under the controversial Additional Costs Allowance.

They were able to claim the interest payments on their mortgages along with running costs.

The system was intended to allow MPs from all over the country to have a home near the Commons, where they can sit late into the night, but also live in their constituencies where they held surgeries and meetings.

There was nothing stopping them keeping the profits if they sold up. After the expenses scandal, the system was overhauled. Taxpayers no longer footed the bill for the mortgages of MPs, who now can claim up to £22,760 in rent for a second home.

But MPs who had already bought theirs were allowed to keep them, plus any profits from the sale.

Those with second homes in the capital have benefitted from a booming property market. Since 2001, the average London house price has rocketed from £149,543 to £479,920.

Prices in exclusive areas around Westminster have risen even more.

Our investigation found most but not all of the second homes funded by the taxpayer, so there may be ­examples of even greater profits than those we have unearthed.

Not all the paper profits translate into hard cash - the true profits after estate agents fees will be lower.

If the MPs still designated the ­property as their second home when they sold up they would have had to pay capital gains tax on the profits.

And some will have paid any ­mortgage themselves in full while they were not in parliament or after the rules changed banning the claims.

After frontbench Labour MP Barry Gardiner made a £198,500 profit selling his flat in 2007, he revealed he had paid 40% capital gains tax and claimed "the public purse has benefited" from the arrangement.
Sir Graham Brady
© Getty Images
Tory 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady
He said: "The amount returned to the exchequer in capital gains tax approximates to the total amounts claimed over the entire four year period."

Sir Graham Brady, who made nearly £1.1m from the sale of his flat, said: "Capital Gains Tax was paid on this transaction, more than refunding the mortgage interest subsidy claimed.

"Since 2010 I have not claimed mortgage subsidy or rent and have therefore saved the taxpayer."

Maria Miller said: "The matter you are referring to relates to claims made up to 14 years ago. My claims have been subject to a investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and I can confirm that I always pay my tax in full."

We have also found three MPs - all Labour - who made a loss on the transaction. They include former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. She went on to make a £20,000 loss selling her second home in her constituency.

But most MPs made considerable profits from the properties which some pledged to hand back.

When the expenses scandal came to light in 2009, there was widespread public anger at what many saw as MPs being greedy.

There were outrageous claims, including clearing a moat, a £1,600 floating duckhouse. And 392 former and current MPs were ordered to repay £1.3million of the money.