MP Expense Claims Exceed £120 Million Each Year – Up by 25% – Many Fall Foul of the Rules Yet the Largess Continues – Despairing Times For Taxpayers Hit Hard by Austerity Measures

 

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2 Days ago: Hundreds of MPs’ have their parliamentary credit cards suspended for breaking expenses rules

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), was set up in the wake of the disgraceful expenses scandal 10 years ago.

Parliamentary credit cards were introduced for MPs’ following the scandal, to ensure spending could be closely monitored.

Westminster authorities, ruled that information should not be released to the public because it could hinder the safe operation of the system.

But a former high court judge reversed the ruling and ordered that the information be released to the public saying that the risk of “embarrassing” MPs’ was not sufficient reason to keep the information secret.

True to form those elected to serve the electorate soon found ways in which they could circumvent the rules.

Scots who vote to maintain the rotten and corrupt political system that is Westminster need their heads examined.

 

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The folderol that is Westminster and the Fiddle-de-dee behavior of MPs’

Information recently released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that since the 2015 General Election 377,  MPs’,  (1,114 suspensions in total) have had their gold credit cards suspended for claiming for disallowed items, failing to pay back ineligible expenses or failure to provide receipts.

Many are repeat offenders, including Tory, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, (card suspended 5 times).

Claire Perry, energy minister, admitted wrongly used her parliamentary credit card to pay for her Amazon Prime subscription.

Ian Paisley, DUP MP, ran up debts of £1,193 and had his credit card suspended.

Damian Collins, Tory MP and chair of the Commons media committee, Chloe Smith, Tory government constitution minister and 7 other MP’s have had their card suspended more than ten times over the past three years.

Stephen Barclay, Greg Clark, Chris Grayling, Robert Buckland, Claire Perry, Rory Stewart, Jeremy Wright, David Mundell and Boris Johnson, all ministers of cabinet status are among the MPs penalised.

In the Labour camp, party leader Jeremy Corbyn was revealed to have had his card suspended twice, while Shadow Cabinet ministers Rebecca Long-Bailey, Richard Burgon, Diane Abbott and deputy leader Tom Watson were found to have also fallen foul of expenses rules.

Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said:

“It shows there is either something fundamentally wrong with the system, or we’ve got a bunch of highly incompetent slovenly MPs’ who can’t keep to the rules.  MPs’ have become lax and casual in their approach to meeting the rules. If MPs can’t deal with this rather narrow sphere of finances, why should we trust them in dealing with the nation’s finances?”

The amount taxpayers were charged for MPs’ allowances increased by 22 per cent since 2009.

In 2018 the expenses bill was £117.4million – equivalent to £180,000 per MP. This includes accommodation, travel, hotels, subsistence and staffing costs.

 

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