A GWENT MP has defended claiming more than £10,000 in expenses to pay solicitor fees.

Newport West MP Paul Flynn claimed £10,565.30 in October 2005 for his defence costs after being sued for libel damages following comments on his website and in a magazine.

Labour's Mr Flynn faced a writ for more than £300,000 in damages over the comments in articles related to the business of purchasing endowment policies for profit.

Mr Flynn, who claimed £140,961 in expenses in 2007/8, paid the resulting £1,000 damages and £35,450 costs out of his own pocket but claimed more than £10,000 in expenses to pay his solicitor.

Mr Flynn said he was perfectly entitled to claim as MPs are covered for these costs if they are as a result of issues relating to their parliamentary job. They can claim up to £25,000.

He said claims have to be accepted by the income tax authority and the house authorities as being to do entirely with parliamentary business.

Mr Flynn said he has no regrets about the case and said the campaign was very worthwhile.

More than one million receipts were published by the House of Commons on Thursday, One third of Welsh MPs, including Mr Flynn, have now repaid some of their expenses.

Mr Flynn noticed around six weeks ago that he had been reimbursed twice for a television licence bill. He said this was an error and immediately repaid the £135.50.

The Newport West MP said he has deliberately included information on his own personal website of those details blacked out on the expenses lists published on Parliament’s website including the address of his second home in London.

He said he wanted to demonstrate that he has never ‘flipped’ his second home, adding “There really is nothing to hide.”

The highest claim by a Gwent MP for 2007/8 was Newport East's Jess Morden who claimed £167,060, the lowest claim was filed by Blaenau Gwent's Dai Davies at £119,697.