THE TORY candidate for Wanstead in the next general election claims Harry Cohen "got off lightly" after he was told to pay back more than £60,000 in wrongly claimed expenses.

Ed Northover, who will stand for the Conservatives in Mr Cohen's Leyton and Wanstead constituency later this year, has suggested that plans to withold Mr Cohen's £65,000 retirement settlement when he stands down at the next election, and to force him to apologise to the House of Commons - do not go far enough.

He said: "This is a very severe sanction indeed. However, I can't help thinking that Mr Cohen has got off lightly. He may be losing 65 thousand but he has made gains of several hundred thousand over the years.

"He has not just let us, his constituents, down - he has let himself down. This is a sad end to his career."

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards said he ordered the “severe sanction” because Mr Cohen’s breach of the rules was “particularly serious”.

The report found Mr Cohen broke rules by not declaring substantial income he received from renting a property in Colchester, which he said was his main residence.

He also wrongly registered a property in his constituency as his second home, while spending most of his time there due to his wife’s ill-health.

This enabled him to claim one of the highest Additional Costs Allowances of all London MPs, including thousands of pounds on a luxury bathroom and more than £100-a-month on cleaning products.

Giving evidence before the Committee for Standards, Mr Cohen apologised for the breach, but said claiming a London supplement, which he was entitled to do, instead of ACA "would not have saved the taxpayer a penny".

But the report contests this assertion, saying the supplement would have entitled him to £6,000, rather then the tens of thousands he received through ACA.

He also complained that a "far more robust system" of support should have been available to members to help them interpret and abide by the rules.

The commissioner responded: “Mr Cohen might have gained a clearer understanding of the rules if he had provided the House authorities with fuller information about his arrangements.”

Mr Cohen has yet to respond to Mr Northover's comments.