HARRY Cohen claims more expenses for his second home than any other MP in outer London.

The Leyton MP received an Additional Cost Allowance (ACA) of £104, 701 between 2002 and 2007 for his constituency home in Wanstead.

The allowance of up to £24,000 a year goes to MPs from outside inner London to cover the cost of staying away from their main home when carrying out Parliamentary duties.

Mr Cohen declares his main family home as being in Colchester, Essex.

Guidance produced for MPs by the House of Commons department of finance and administration says: "If you have more than one home, your main home will normally be the one where you spend more nights than any other."

Mr Cohen freely admits that he spends 90 per cent of his time at his Wanstead home, but denies he is not acting within the spirit of the rules.

Mr Cohen’s use of public money has yet again come under the spotlight following the controversy over Education Secretary Tony McNulty, who claimed £60,000 for staying at his parents home 11 miles from Westminster.

Mr Cohen’s expenses have been under scrutiny since MP claims were first made public in 2004.

Then the Leyton MP claimed £123,718 in allowances for the year 2003-2004 on top of his salary of £57,485.

Two years later Mr Cohen, who has represented Leyton since 1983, was again one of London’s most expensive MPs.

He claimed the maximum ACA of £21,634 and his total expenses amounted to £128,881, in addition to his then salary of £59, 686.

Mr Cohen vehemently defended his expenses claims, saying they reflect his ‘professionalism’ as an MP.

“I am almost certainly the most professional MP Leyton and Wanstead has ever had, and that includes Winston Churchill,” he said.

“My home arrangements and the financing of them are long-standing and to some extent built around the available allowance. The result, though, means that I am mortgage-rich and that capital will have to be paid off in due course.”

Mr Cohen then went on to criticise the Guardian’s reporting “on several counts”, accusing the newspaper of implying that he is in the same position as MPs whose expenses claims are being investigated.

He added that he provides “enormous value for money” and Guardian reporting on his high expenses claims are an “unjustified attack”.

He continued: “I think Gordon Brown is absolutely right to have set up a full-scale inquiry to look at all aspects of MPs Allowances. He is also right to have included within that whether MPs should have just the one job, like myself, or have other jobs and sources of income in addition to that as an MP.”