British Lawmaker Cited for Claiming Expenses for Hebrew Lessons

Former teacher Andrew Percy of Brigg and Goole says he needs the knowledge to facilitate conversation on his frequent visits to Israel, the Grimsby Telegraph reports.

The British Parliament building, London. September 10, 2010.
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British MP Andrew Percy has claimed 135 pounds in expenses for studying Hebrew, the Grimsby Telegraph reports.

Percy, of Brigg and Goole, is among a group of lawmakers singled out for odd and high expenses, which stirs attention in the aftermath of a 2009 scandal over MPs expenses that led to several being prosecuted.

The newspaper says that Percy claimed the most for expenses out of the Northern Lincolnshire representatives in October and November, filing for 9,249 pounds during the two months, some 135 of that for Hebrew lessons.

As a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel, the former teacher says he's learning Hebrew as part of his professional development and is paying for some of the lessons himself.

Percy regularly goes to Israel to meet with ministers and also makes media appearances while in the Middle East, and says he finds it "embarrassing" to rely solely on political colleagues speaking English or resorting to translators.