With families finding it tough in the recession, it’s no wonder people are angry at MPs abusing their allowances and expenses.
I have previously published my claims but I recently gave even more detail on my website . Please visit and make up your own mind.
In summary, I do NOT claim for a second home or any of the expenses some MPs claim for.
Parliament rarely sits late now, so there’s no need for London MPs to stay near Westminster overnight or indeed claim any of the other “additional” overnight expenses some claim – from food, to furniture and so on. So I don’t claim them.
My claims are primarily for running my constituency office (rent, rates, etc) and my staff’s wages: I don’t employ family members. Like all MPs, I claim for stationery, office equipment and for non-party political communications with constituents.
Finally, I claim some travel expenses – though not all the rules allow for. Over the last 12 years, for example, I could have claimed around 40p for every mile I drive round the constituency on my duties. However, I’ve not claimed a single penny.
The main way I could claim less would be to pay my staff less, or close my office down – but that would seriously interfere with my work as your MP.
I have always voted for reforming this system – so MPs don’t set our own pay and for independent audit of our claims. I voted against a Conservative MP’s proposal to exempt MPs from the Freedom of Information.
We have to clear up this mess, because it is damaging politics itself.