I have been receiving a lot of publicity following the publication of the expenses claims put in during the first few weeks by M.P.’s. First of all let me say that expenses are reimbursements of amounts paid out by M.P.’s for the purposes of doing their job as a Member of Parliament. There are very strict rules about what can be claimed.
During the first few weeks covered by the figures released by IPSA the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority yesterday.
In Summary my expenses were:
Flat rent: £3063.37
Hotel bills: £1922.26
Train fares £737.40
By way of explanation the hotel bills covered the first few weeks after I was elected. After that I found a flat and so I will not need to make any more hotel claims for staying in London. The biggest item is for staffing this figure covers two separate invoices for pooled research services which I subscribe to in London. Unlike many members of Parliament I do not employ any staff purely for my own use in Westminster instead I have joined two groups which MP’s join to jointly employ staff and by the end of the year this will be much cheaper than for me employing someone full-time for my own use. The figure of £5827.50 covers the period up to 31st March 2011. Clearly this items affects the overall total as it will not be repeated until next year. Also the figures which have been released do not include salary payments to members of staff which is the biggest head of account. Once the whole picture is fully revealed it will be easier to make meaningful comparisons although I do not think that is necessarily the right thing to do. What matters is that there are strict limits on what can be claimed and provided there is complete transparency I hope we will soon be able to recover the trust of the electorate.