AS Lloyd Grossman would have said – “who do you think lives in a room like this?”

The answer, MP Bob Russell.

The Colchester MP released a picture of his London home to show voters he is not riding the expenses gravy train.

Mr Russell, who claims the mortgage interest on the 19th century flat he shares with fellow Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock, said his second homes’ allowance this year will be one of the top ten lowest in the UK for MPs outside London.

In the last financial year, Mr Russell claimed £6,400 of a maximum £24,000 allowance.

In 2007 to 2008 he claimed £10,963 and in 2006 to 2007 he claimed £11,555.

Mr Russell said: “I’m hoping people will acknowledge I have never gone near the £24,000 that’s available.

“Frankly, I have seen better student accommodation and that’s what the picture shows.

“This is hardly luxurious accommodation that I’m living in.

“I am concerned there is a danger of us all being tarred with the same brush.”

He said his most expensive item of furniture is his single bed, while his armchair came from home and his table and chairs were donated from his daughter.

“I’m content to have the flat.

“I would be equally happy if the authorities provide accomdation like Merville Barracks [where Colchester soldiers live].

“I just don’t think I could do it any cheaper than it is, short of sleeping in the office, and hopefully the photographs will convey that.”

He defended spending £1,065 on two new windows at the flat in July 2006.

Mr Russell said: “This one-off payment is the equivalent of staying for ten nights in a middle of the range London hotel – and has produced a reduction in energy costs – two of the five windows were broken.

“Mike Hancock and I both believe in getting value for money.

“By choosing to share a flat, I am saving the public purse the best part of £17,000 every year against the maximum available to MPs to rent or buy accommodation or stay in hotels.”