This handy graphic from the Currant Bun makes the situation clear. Labour MPs are pigging out and Britain’s costliest MP and biggest burden on the taxpayer is Labour’s Claire Curtis-Thomas – the scrounging scouser, representing Crosby on Merseyside, pocketed £168,889 in expenses last year.
Now you can believe that travel costs for Scottish MPs would be higher – if they choose not to let the train take the strain with their free travel warrants – claiming that oh so generous mileage allowance. But Andrew Dismore in Hendon must travel by helicopter – London’s most expensive MP drew £147,650 in expenses last year on top of his salary of £54,725. Nevertheless his attendance record is pretty poor, despite being a London MP he manages to come in the bottom half of attendees, missing a third of all votes. The 35 minute journey on the Tube would cost £20 a week if he came in every day – which he clearly doesn’t – so for the period parliament sits it would cost around £700 – yet his travel expenses are £4,959. The London Evening Standard says the Labour member for Hendon pushed up his total by spending £38,755 on stationery and postage – six times more than most colleagues – equivalent to the cost of 133,320 second class stamps, or about 800 letters every day the Commons was sitting – two per year to each of his north London constituents. His other job? An ambulance chasing personal injury lawyer, so Guido looks forward to the contemptible Dismore’s writ. I don’t believe his expense claims are accurate, but we would all love to hear him justify himself. The Tories forced Michael Trend to stand down when he was caught fiddling his expenses, since it requires a 9% swing to get Dismore out of Hendon, the only hope is that the Labour party does the same.
Not all Labour MPs tax us and spend like sailors in port – Dennis Skinner is the best value for money MP by a long way – and he is a diligent tribune of the people, how does he do it? Kate Hoey was the best value for money London MP.
You can download the list of expenses here. Guido will be returning to this subject again and again…