Tory minister claimed thousands of pounds on expenses to stay at the exclusive London club where he met his mistress

  • Robert Halfon, 46, admitted to his affair with Alexandra Paterson last week
  • It followed claims a senior Tory aide tried to blackmail him over it
  • Since 2010 Halfon has claimed £30,000 to stay at London's East India Club
  • The club in St James's Square is where he used to meet Paterson at night 
  • For more on the latest Tory scandal visit www.dailymail.co.uk/tories

A Tory minister embroiled in a blackmail plot over an affair claimed thousands of pounds on parliamentary expenses for the exclusive club where he met his mistress, it emerged today.

Cabinet Minister Robert Halfon, a 46-year-old minister without portfolio, said he felt 'ashamed' of having a six-month relationship with Alexandra Paterson behind his long-term partner's back.

But he has claimed more than £30,000 for staying at the East India Club, in London's upmarket St James's Square where the pair met over several months.

Tory minister Robert Halfon (left) said he felt ‘ashamed’ of having a six-month relationship behind his long-term partner’s back with Alex Paterson (right)

Tory minister Robert Halfon (left) said he felt 'ashamed' of having a six-month relationship behind his long-term partner's back with Alex Paterson (right)

Mr Halfon admitted to the affair after it was claimed that one of the Prime Minister's election aides had tried to blackmail him over it. 

It was claimed Tory director Mark Clarke tried to get film of him leaving the London club with Miss Paterson.

During four years after he first became an MP in 2010, Mr Halfon claimed more than £30,000 to stay at the East India club, the Sunday Times reported.

The MP's for Harlow constituency in Essex is within commutable distance for an MP but he is allowed to charge for overnight accommodation because he has cerebral palsy and walks with crutches.

A spokesman for the MP insisted Miss Paterson had not stayed at the club overnight.

'Rob Halfon claimed for rooms at the East India Club as part of his disability allowance for his work as MP, as it is considerably lower than the limit allowed by IPSA for MPs' accommodation cost in hotels,' the spokesman said.

'Mr Halfon repeats his full and frank apology.' 

Bizarrely, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority said there was nothing to stop MPs claiming for overnight stays used to have an affair provided the accommodation was within the rules.

An IPSA source told the newspaper: 'We just pay for the room. It is up to MPs what they do with it — they can have 10 people in there if they want.'

Deepening scandal: David Cameron’s disgraced election aide Mark Clarke (pictured left) made a copy of a bombshell sex video in which one of his Conservative foes was duped into performing a sex act on the internet

Deepening scandal: David Cameron's disgraced election aide Mark Clarke (pictured left) made a copy of a bombshell sex video in which one of his Conservative foes was duped into performing a sex act on the internet

It costs around £1,000 a year to be a member of the East India, Devonshire, Sports and Public Schools' Club.

It costs up to £110 a night for a single room and boasts a library, gym, billiards room and smoking room.

Mr Clarke, who has denied the blackmail allegations in Mr Halfon's case, was dubbed the 'Tatler Tory' after the society magazine tipped him for Cabinet stardom before the 2010 Election.

But his political career was left in ruins last week after Conservative chairman Lord Feldman banned him from being a member of the party for life.

Mr Clarke is at the centre of an investigation over claims he bullied Tory activist Elliott Johnson, 21, who committed suicide in September. He denies the claims.

He is also accused trying to leak a video to the media of one of his Conservative foes who was duped into performing a sex act on the internet.

This is believed to be an image of Tatler Tory Mark Clarke holding a smartphone to record the sex tape footage from another smartphone in his bedroom

This is believed to be an image of Tatler Tory Mark Clarke holding a smartphone to record the sex tape footage from another smartphone in his bedroom

The 'victim' had previously refused to pay a £2,500 blackmail demand, and the film was then posted on his Facebook page.

The man, whose name was not revealed by The Mail on Sunday, has told police and Conservative chiefs he believes Mr Clarke was responsible for the film.

Mr Clarke denied he was to blame, although he has admitted in the past that he tried to 'expose' the film via 'the media' to help prevent such scams.

The Mail on Sunday obtained a copy of the film as part of its investigation into the scandal engulfing Clarke, who is accused of bullying a Conservative activist who later look his own life. 

With the consent of the victim, the sex film was handed to police, who are to investigate.