AN Oxfordshire MP has this week apologised for using taxpayers’ money to buy luxury and antique furniture for his Letcome Bassett home – just days after insisting that he was “fairly comfortable” with his expense claims.

Ed Vaizey, Tory MP for Wantage, had previously insisted that his claims were “legitimate” and said he had repaid £2,000 spent on furnishing his second house in Letcombe Bassett only because of the outcry over MPs’ behaviour.

He said that paying back the money was “the right thing to do”.

This week, however, after details of his claims were exposed by the Daily Telegraph, which acquired a leaked copy of all MPs’ expenses going back four years, the shadow culture spokesman admitted he had been wrong.

He insisted a claim for an antique chair – which was expressly forbidden by the Parliamentary rulebook – “should not have been made”.

Mr Vaizey also accepted a series of other items of furniture, bought from online retailer Oka, could be “deemed as being of higher quality than necessary”.

His purchases from the company, which is owned by the mother-in-law of Tory leader and Witney MP David Cameron, included a £467 two-seat sofa, a £544 chair, a £280 low table and another table worth £671.

In addition, it also emerged Mr Vaizey claimed £300 for an upholstered library chair from an antiques shop in west London and £10,776 to cover legal fees and stamp duty when he bought the Letcombe Bassett house in 2007. Mr Vaizey’s main home is in west London.

The Green Book, which sets out the rules governing MPs’ expense claims, states MPs are not allowed to use their Additional Costs Allowance to buy “furnishings or fittings that are antique, luxury or premium grade”.

Mr Vaizey, in an attempt to explain his change of heart, said he “did not bother” to argue against the Telegraph’s charge that he may have broken the rules because he had “already decided, for different reasons, to pay back the money”.

He went on the say: “I am sorry.”

The MP added: “People have a right to feel let down. This was an error of judgement and I apologise. I am trying to make amends. I accept people will be angry. I haven’t claimed for furniture since.

“My claim last year was significantly lower than the year before and my claim this year will be less than half the permitted allowance. I did pay this money back before this was in the public domain.”

Mr Vaizey continued to defend his claim for stamp duty and legal fees, saying he had bought a home in Oxfordshire because it “demonstrated my commitment to my constituency”.

A senior Tory spokesman confirmed that Mr Vaizey’s claims, which had been approved by the Fees Office, are to be re-examined by an internal party scrutiny panel.

If the panel decides any of Mr Vaizey's claims have been excessive, he could be forced to pay back even more – or face being expelled from the Parliamentary party.