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Baroness Scotland hits back at ‘unfair’ expenses criticism

Baroness Scotland hits back at ‘unfair’ expenses criticism

Agnes Chambre

2 min read

Baroness Scotland has hit back at critics after reports she spent more than £338,000 of taxpayers' cash refurbishing her Mayfair home.

The Commonwealth Secretary General claimed she has been the victim of a campaign to “traduce” her and that the stories had been “unfair”.

Blog Guido Fawkes revealed she spent £300 on a toilet seat and paid to have a chandelier moved, among other costs.

Another report claimed the former attorney general spent more than £10,000 on wallpaper.

In her first interview since the scandal, the Labour peer told The Guardian: “I’ve been absolutely traduced and I think there has been a campaign to do that – it is quite extraordinary.”

She added: “It’s unfair to refer to me as Baroness Brazen on a false premise that I have been profligate."

Baroness Scotland said her male predecessors did not face the same kind of scrutiny.

And she said: “I am amazed they think this is a proper issue for a secretary general of an international organisation to be consumed by.”

Asked if she believes she was targeted because she is a black woman, she said it was for “others to say”.  

But she added: “I’ve always been really focused on my career, doing what I can and allowing other people’s sexism, racism and prejudice to be their problem and not mine.”

She has insisted that the majority of the work on the house was signed off by her predecessor.

“The lease states that the house has to be maintained outside and inside to the satisfaction of the landlords," she told the Guardian.

“A periodic review takes place before each secretary general finishes their term of practice, so the last secretary general [the Indian diplomat Kamalesh Sharma], in accordance with his duty, set out what needed to be done.

"All that happened, with the work commissioned and signed off, before I became even a candidate.”

Addressing the £300 toilet seat directly, Baroness Scotland said she did not understand how it could have been listed and said her staff believe it could have covered toilet seats throughout the house.

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