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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Quote of the Day

Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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