First Class Offenders

Expenses rules state that MPs can only travel in first in the unlikely event that it is cheaper than a standard fare. That hasn’t stopped three legroom-loving MPs from bending the rules, however. Energy minister John Hayes made the journey from his Lincolnshire constituency to Westminster in first 28 out of the last 30 times, costing the taxpayer on average over £60 a pop. Standard tickets are usually as cheap as £19 if they are booked in advance or £37.50 if you turn up on the day.  He’s not alone…

Former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson has a 100% record, travelling from Hull in first class 19 times out of 19. He billed us almost £100-a-journey on average, three times what you can pay with a week’s notice. And as for Leeds MP Fabian Hamilton? 29 of his 30 train journeys were in first at £72 a go, as much as double the standard fare.

A well-placed parliamentary source explained to Guido how greedy MPs cheat the system by seeking out the few journeys where buying a first class ticket technically doesn’t break the rules. It’s Great Train Snobbery, pure and simple…



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