SELBY MP John Grogan has defended his decision to make an expenses claim to fund English lessons for a foreign intern he employed.

It has emerged that the Labour MP claimed £150 for lessons at the Rose of York language school in London, which teaches English to overseas students.

On his website, Mr Grogan said: “Most of the people I have employed have strong Yorkshire connections.

“Nevertheless I’ve tried to offer internships to young people from emerging democracies around the world to assist these countries in their development.”

After taking on a Mongolian intern, the MP said he paid for the language lessons because his employee had trouble understanding the Yorkshire accents of his constituents.

As reported, Mr Grogan published all his expenses, through his website, on Friday evening.

They reveal that the rent on his London flat costs him £1,560 each month and that he had a monthly food bill ranging from £100 to £240 throughout the period of April 2007 to March 2008.

Council tax costs Mr Grogan £62 each month and he had a monthly cleaning bill of between £60 and £125.

He said: “Since I was elected in 1997 I have rented a flat in London. Each year I have checked that I was paying about the average rent for a small flat in central London.”