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
Staffing: £5827.50
Train fares £737.40
Total £11,550.40
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.

Notary Training Day and Expenses

I have been up since 4.30am as I have travelled down to London today (well yesterday as it is nearly 1am!) for a Notary Training Day. Although not compulsory it is recommended that Notaries attend the training days organised from time to time by The Notaries Society to ensure that we keep up to date with any changes.

My return rail trip back to Manchester was notable for two reasons. Firstly, I shared a carriage with Henry Winkler better known as The Fonz from the American hit tv series Happy Days. Secondly, because from about 10pm my phone didn’t stop ringing with various people wanting my reaction to the fact that the current M.P. for Bury North was featured on the front page of the Daily Telegraph and, later, was the leading news story on the BBC Radio 5 news bulletin. As is well known I never make personal attacks on other politicians and I am not about to start now.
What I can say is that I fully support the actions taken and the proposals made by David Cameron. I would personally never even dream of claiming for the things it appears some M.P’s have claimed for. I am always conscious that it is not Government money it is the public’s money. Hardworking families in Bury really struggle to make ends meet and I can well understand the anger that people feel when they read the revelations that have come to light in the past few days. I only hope that the damage that has been done to the standing and the trust of politicians can be repaired.