Third MP in Two Months Facing Expenses Probe

IPSA say they are investigating loud mouth SNP MP Phil Boswell over expenses irregularities:

The Compliance Officer for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has opened an investigation to determine whether Mr Phil Boswell MP has been paid an amount under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) that should not have been allowed. An investigation will be conducted into claims submitted under the following areas of the Scheme:

Office Costs Expenditure

In accordance with the legislation and the procedures for investigation made thereunder, no further information will be published until the investigation has been concluded.

Boswell is the third MP to face an expenses investigation in the first two months of 2016, following Jim Shannon and Simon Danczuk. Two MPs have also been referred to the police, yet their constituents are barred from knowing their identities. They still don’t get it.

How Tories Hid Hotel and Transport Bills in Newark

Guido can shed some more light on how the Tories hid their by-election hotel bills in Newark. On 31 May 2014, over 350 young Tories boarded coaches and minibuses up to Newark for a day of campaigning. At the end of the day’s door-knocking, they needed something to eat and somewhere to stay. Paying for travel and hotels for that many people would rack up thousands in by-election expenses. So, the Tories ferried their activists to the Crowne Plaza hotel in Nottingham, outside of the constituency. There, Tory donors treated them to curry at an event named the “first annual RoadTrip dinner” – pictured above – where Rob Halfon and Eric Pickles gave speeches. After that they boozed at the Coco Lounge and NG1 bars, before returning to the hotel, where they made contributions to their room bills. The transport costs of ferrying the activists up to Newark and around Nottingham were apparently undeclared.

A source present says the meal and hotel were deliberately booked outside of the constituency, under the pretence of an “annual RoadTrip dinner”, to avoid appearing on the Newark by-election expenditure. They say this was by no means the only time this happened. A nifty little way of dodging the rules…

IPSA Launch Danczuk Probe

The expenses watchdog IPSA say in a statement:

“The Compliance Officer for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has opened an investigation to determine whether Mr Simon Danczuk MP has been paid an amount under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) that should not have been allowed. An investigation will be conducted into claims submitted under the following areas of the Scheme: Accommodation.

In accordance with the legislation and the procedures for investigation made thereunder, no further information will be published until the investigation has been concluded.”

Usually IPSA try to cover up the specific allegations against MPs. Though there are so many people out to get Danczuk – in his own party and in the local LibDems – that the accusations have already been aired very publicly

SNP Expenses Crusader Employs His Own Wife

SNP Nepotism

Who would have thought SNP MP George Kerevan’s crusade against expenses abuses would turn out to be complete pish? Kerevan was elected last year on a ticket to clean up Westminster and fight greedy MPs:

“I don’t think Westminster MPs are uniquely venal. Many work hard for their constituents. But I believe Westminster is too remote from the people. I think that the deliberate lack of a written constitution and the doctrine of the sovereignty of the Parliament create an insidious political culture at Westminster that leads some MPs to think they are superior to common mortals. I also think the gentleman’s club rules by which the Commons still operates, and which many male Labour backbenchers succumb to, engender an arrogance among MPs you don’t find at Holyrood. All this adds up to a world view in which MPs think they are not only justified in their financial dealings but deserve their patio heaters.”

Such is Kerevan’s moral integrity that he even pledged to only take the Scottish average wage of £27,000, and use the rest of his salary to fund the running of his office and local charities:

So what does he mean by “funding his office”? 

Kerevan this month began employing his wife Angela as a “Personal Assistant”, a post which usually fetches some £25,000 a year. His declarations make clear she is “employed and paid from parliamentary expenses”. A neat way of keeping that taxpayer cash in the family. What was that about “a world view in which MPs think they are justified in their financial dealings”?

“Sh***ing All Over the Working Class” Labour MP Charged Taxpayer For Whirlpool Bath

Corbynista MP Dawn Butler indulged us with the “new, kinder politics” at PMQs:

Dawn would know all about “sh***ing all over the working class”.

Back in 2009, she was exposed in the expenses scandal for over-claiming £2,600 in rent for her constituency home.

She claimed claimed twice for the rent, deposit and charges relating to her second home.

Shamed Butler charged the taxpayer a whirlpool bath in a suite that cost £2,308.

She also claimed the full £23,000 second home allowance, despite her first home in Stratford being the same distance from Parliament.

Go on, Dawn, tell us more about “sh***ing all over the working class…”

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.

[…]

+ READ MORE +

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”.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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. 

[…]

+ READ MORE +

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 deal for the taxpayer because the new rules mean MPs “can no longer claim for the costs of hospitality, evening meals, taxis home from Westminster when working late”, and the scandal of resettlement payments has been ended.[…]

+ 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 Hammond rakes in £67,000 a year as the MP for Wimbledon.[…]

+ 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 by the Commons watchdog after failing to show spending was valid.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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