Under Pressure: MP With Largest Expenses Bill Probed

The parliamentary expenses watchdog is investigating DUP MP Jim Shannon over irregularities with his expenses:

“The Compliance Officer for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has today opened an investigation into claims made under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses by Jim Shannon MP. The claims in question relate to travel and subsistence expenditure.”

As with the case of Tory MP Bob Blackman in 2014, IPSA are refusing to disclose any information about what the actual allegations against Shannon are. The case against him will be heard in secret to prevent “reputational damage to MPs”. Shannon submitted the highest expenses claims of any MP in both 2013-14 and 2014-15, claiming £235,000 and £264,500 each year. At the time he blamed the huge bill on his staffers being ill. Surely his constituents have a right to know what is he supposed to have done wrong?

Two MPs Referred to Police Over Expenses Claims

snouts

The expenses watchdog IPSA reveals they have referred two MPs to the Met because they believe a criminal offence may have been committed in relation to their expenses:

During the course of the reporting period I have felt it necessary for the first time during my term of office to refer requests for investigation received from IPSA to the Police. As I referred to previously, the Compliance Officer has a joint working agreement with the Metropolitan Police which states:

“Where, in the exercise of their duties, either IPSA or the Compliance Officer is given a reason to suspect that a criminal offence may have been committed by an MP or a member of an MP’s staff, they shall seek advice from the Commissioner and notify the Metropolitan Police of their suspicions, and hand over any relevant documentation upon request.”

Three cases have been forwarded to the Metropolitan Police for assessment; one has been finalised and two remain with the police.

They won’t say who the two MPs are, and buried the revelation on page 74 of their annual report. Surely constituents have a right to know if their Member of Parliament is being investigated for fiddling their expenses?

H/T Nicholas Cecil

Taxpayer Billed £700,000 For Ex-MP Wind Up Costs

Outgoing MPs billed the taxpayer almost £700,000 in office wind up costs when they stood down or were booted out by voters in May. By Guido’s calculation, new figures released by IPSA today show the 182 MPs who left their seats claimed £691,000 in “winding up” expenses. Most of the claims were submitted in June and July, and Guido is told by IPSA that they are still expecting further claims from tardy ex-MPs. Meaning former MPs are still claiming expenses several months after losing their jobs, and the final total will be considerably higher. 

Disgraced LibDem David “The Jews” Ward was still claiming for shredding well into July, while Tim Yeo was still charging us for his stationery four months after vacating his seat. Troughing ’til the bitter end…

Poll: How to Deal With MPs Not Settling Debts?

snouts

How to deal with the 26 MPs who refused to pay back money owed to the taxpayer despite being asked “several times” by IPSA? The Taxpayers’ Alliance say dock their pay:

“If sitting MPs are unwilling to pay what is due, the simple solution would be for the amount to be docked from their next salary payment. Those former MPs who have been named and shamed should also do the honourable thing and pay up – and if they are unwilling to do so, then the obvious sanction would be to remove the parliamentary pass they enjoy as a former member until such as time as their debts to the taxpayer are paid up.”

IPSA have flown the white flag because it isn’t “cost effective” to chase up debts under £500. What do you think they should do?

Take Guido’s poll…

Named and Shamed: MPs Refusing to Pay Back Debts to Taxpayer

snouts

The expenses watchdog has decided not to pursue the recovery of debts owed by 26 shameless MPs, who owe the taxpayer amounts up to £500 but are refusing to pay up. The cost of recovering the debts means it is “not cost-effective” to force the MPs to pay the money back, though IPSA insist: “All MPs have been contacted several times about these outstanding sums”. These are the names of the piggies cheating the taxpayer…

Charles Hendry

Chris Skidmore

Clive Efford

Daniel Poulter

Frank Dobson

Frank Roy

Guy Opperman

Ian Mearns

Joe Benton

Julie Hilling

Khalid Mahmood

Laurence Robertson

Michael Meacher

Paul Farrelly

Peter Bone

Sian James

Stephen Barclay

Stephen McCabe

Stephen Williams

Stewart Jackson

Tim Yeo

Tobias Ellwood

Guido would like to buy their debts. And send round the heavies…

UPDATE: Caroline Dinenage says she was on the list erroneously and has receoved an apology from IPSA, though Guido hasn’t seen it.

UPDATE II: David Mowat gets in touch: “The bill was in respect of a £35 invoice (to the information commissioner) which was correctly claimed. IPSA have removed me from their list and apologised for their error.” IPSA would have more credibility if they got things like this right…

UPDATE III: Barry Gardiner was also falsely accused by IPSA.

UPDATE IV: Sources close to Edward Timpson get in touch to say he has also received an apology from IPSA. They have had a ‘mare…

Moat Cleaning Expenses Scandal MP Awarded Peerage

Douglas Hogg, the disgraced Tory minister who infamously had his moat cleaned on expenses, has been made a Lord. Hogg charged the taxpayer for having his moat cleared, piano tuned and stable lights fixed at his country manor house. He’ll fit in well in our second chamber.

Other upstanding names on the list include Peter Hain, who had to resign and faced a police investigation after he failed to declare 20 donations to his deputy leadership campaign worth a total of over £100,000.

Also there is bonking David Blunkett and a very long list of Downing Street SpAds.

A proud day for parliament…

Bercow’s £172 Expenses Bill to Drive 0.7 Miles

MPs have been getting it in the neck this week for 9p mileage claims, but this is something to really get peeved about. Some top digging by Press Association has found John Bercow billed the taxpayer £172 to be chauffeur-driven to a conference at Carlton House Terrace, just 0.7 miles from parliament. And that’s not all:

  • Bercow used an official car to travel to Canterbury to see Justin Welby enthroned in 2013 – at a cost of £524
  • He travelled 1.5 miles to dinner at the Dorchester Hotel, billing £144
  • Somehow managed to blow £168 travelling from King’s Cross to Speaker’s House
  • Billed £367 to be driven to the University of Bedfordshire, where he gave a lecture on reforming parliament and warn about the consequences of the expenses scandal
  • Kept a chauffeur-driven car waiting while he attended a memorial service for Malcolm Wicks in Croydon, costing £289 for five hours

He is the “reforming Speaker”…

Guilty Men: MPs Who Backed Pay Rise Named and Shamed

IPSA has revealed the roll call of shame of MPs who begged for more cash in the pay rise consultation. Only four had the balls to go on the record:

“I know I speak for the silent majority (who are not millionaires) to say this increase is well overdue… I hope common sense will prevail and this pay rise will be honoured.” Tobias Ellwood MP

“I am supporting IPSA’s recommendations as they have been done independently of Members.” Keith Vaz MP

“IPSA… must work totally free from government influence.” Mark Field MP 

“In my view IPSA was established precisely to take away the responsibility of this sort of decision from the hands of MPs… MPs were traditionally unpaid. And parliament predicted when salaries were introduced that it would be a source of continual public disappointment and anger, as it has been… My fundamental conclusion is that an independent body such as IPSA is now and should be in the future the appropriate body to make recommendations – not MPs themselves. I believe IPSA has conducted serious research and comparisons. I believe they are in a better position than MPs to be objective. I would accept their recommendation.” Rory Stewart MP

At least they had the nerve to stick their necks out, unlike the silent majority who quietly accepted the rise…

Confirmed: Troughing MPs Will Land Bumper Pay Rise

“MPs’ pay will rise to £74,000 as part of a package of changes to their remuneration,” IPSA confirm this morning: “The pay rise will be backdated to 8 May 2015”. 

The expenses watchdog are spinning that this is a good […]

+ READ MORE +

Tight Tory’s £4.50 Remembrance Expenses Shocker

Earlier this year, Guido revealed Labour MP Sarah Champion’s £17 expenses claim for a poppy wreath.

Then top Miliband aide John Cruddas was caught putting funeral flowers on the taxpayers’ tab.

Now the Tories are at it too.

Wealthy Stephen […]

+ READ MORE +

IDS Should Face Benefit Sanctions

welfare

Awkward, via PA:

Iain Duncan Smith had his official credit card suspended after running up more than £1,000 in expenses debts, it can be revealed.

The Work and Pensions Secretary was among more a dozen MPs subject to action

[…]

+ READ MORE +

New MP Puts Secretary He’s Shagging on Highest Pay Grade

Yesterday Guido revealed the roll call of shame of new MPs boarding the gravy train by giving cushy jobs to family members.

Most impressive of the bunch is Gerald Jones, top left, the new Labour Honourable Member for Merthyr Tydfil […]

+ READ MORE +



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