WELWYN Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has been named by the Telegraph as one of the saintly parliamentarians who refused to abuse the expenses system.

The Tory shadow housing minister, who commutes from Hatfield to Westminster, has never charged the taxpayer for a second home despite being eligible for it and stays at hotels when necessary.

Mr Shapps' expenses, published by the commons authorities today along with all MP expenses data under the Freedom of Information Act, shows he has used public money to fund overnight hotel stays - costing in the region of £150 to £250 - as well as other claims, amounting to £12,647 over four years. The maximum MP allowance is £25,000 a year.

But despite winning praise from the national newspaper whose revelations of unlawful MP allowance claims in recent weeks have caused public outcry and led to a slew of resignations, Mr Shapps' political opponents have been quick to knock the halo from his head.

Labour parliamentary hopeful Mike Hobday said: "He's spending more on the occasional hotel night than I spend on my mortage for a whole month. It does seem that he's got used to living quite a fine life on the taxpayer. We are paying for him to stay somewhere very nice indeed.

"He's not staying at the Travel Lodge across from the Houses of Parliament.

"London is expensive for hotels but there's lots of adequate, clean and comfortable rooms that you can get for £100 a night.

"Given that he has four members of staff working for him I'm sure one of them would have been able to find a hotel that costs less than £250 a night."

Hitting back at his rival, Mr Shapps, who insists he has been forced to sleep on his office floor following late night sittings, said: "When business is running on I ask my office to find me a room. I typically stay in the City Inn and that's it. It's just whatever room I can get. I go for the most efficient one they have at the time.

"If you phone a hotel when business is running late, you have very few options. I always call the Premier Lodge but they are always fully booked. You have to book a month in advance for those sorts of places.

"I'm not the kind of person who pays to stay in flash places, I would like to see an MP's hostel in the town. It would save me a lot of hassle and save me from sleeping on my office floor where I have no bed and no pillow.

He added: "As shadow housing minister I tour around the country a lot and expenses extend to travel and hotel stays.

"I would like to stay in my own home every night as I have a young family. I hate having to stay away from home but that's my job."