AN MSP in Scottish Labour’s shadow cabinet has charged the taxpayer around £60,000 for staying in a flat owned by the party’s former Education Minister.

Claudia Beamish rents a property owned by one-time MSP Peter Peacock, who himself claimed mortgage interest on the flat when he was at Holyrood.

MSPs who live outwith commuting distance of Edinburgh can claim for rent or hotels when fulfilling parliamentary duties.

However, the Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance has been transformed in recent years due to a series of scandals about MSP claims.

Politicians can no longer bill the taxpayer for mortgage payments or rent property from a “close” family member or other MSPs.

The Sunday Herald can reveal that the rules do allow MSPs to claim rent for living in flats owned by former MSPs.

In 1999, Peacock, one-time Education Minister, bought a flat in Edinburgh’s Shandon district for £89,950.

Peacock claimed over £40,000 between 1999 and 2005 for staying in the home he bought.

After Peacock stood down in 2011, he hired letting agency JVR Properties - and Beamish, who was elected in the same year, rented the flat.

Her landlord was listed as “JWR Properties/Peacock” in Scottish Parliament records in 2012.

She now rents the property through a different agency and no contract exists between her and Peacock. There is no personal benefit to the MSP.

According to the Holyrood allowances database, Beamish has claimed nearly £57,000 for living in the flat.

Rental payments cover around £44,000 of the total, while the council tax bill for the Band E property is £1,938 a year.

Her rent increased from £750 a month to £800 in 2014/15. Her total bill for living in the flat last year was £12,104.

No rules have been broken, but the claims may fuel the perception of public money ending up in the pockets of party supporters.

A spokesman for Spinwatch, a transparency group, said: “These expenses claims clearly show the need for Holyrood to have another look at the system.”

Beamish was appointed to Kezia Dugdale’s shadow cabinet as environment spokesperson after the election. Her father was Tory life peer Sir Tufton Beamish.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: "This flat is rented through an agency at a market rate, there is no direct contract between Peter and Claudia and to suggest otherwise would be false."

Peacock did not return a telephone call.