IPSA Likely to Investigate New Claims Against Serial Expenses Abuser Byrne

Yesterday, Guido covered the implosion of Liam Byrne’s West Midlands mayoral campaign; one aspect of which is the persistent accusation he’s misusing public money by having his expenses-paid parliamentary staff help run his election campaign efforts. Guido fears IPSA are likely to investigate. If they do, the expenses watchdog may find this history of Liam Byrne’s previous expenses escapades worth bearing in mind. It’s far from glittering:

  • Since 2010, he’s claimed over £1.9 million in expense, nearly £6,000 in ‘bonuses’ and potentially up to £45,000 paid to his wife
  • Byrne claimed nearly £2,000 of taxpayers’ money for a second home he neither bought nor rented (2009)
  • In 2011, he claimed the second-highest total of expenses for any MP
  • Claimed the maximum permissible amount of expenses under the additional costs allowance over two financial years while switching between various luxury flats in London (2004 & 2005)
  • Submitted claims for room service food in hotels, which were rejected by the Fees Office (2009)
  • Claimed £150 in rail upgrades so he could get a first-class seat rather than standing up in crowded standard-class carriages (2011)
  • Claimed £260 for a Times subscription, despite MPs and their staff having free access to the paper (2019)
  • Attempted to claim £50.92 in expenses for an airbed, having it turned down when the fees office asked whether it was for his own personal use (2009)

Woe betide the Commons Fees Office when they do dare turn down any of Byrne’s requests as well, given his history of complaining when expenses aren’t approved. In 2017, Byrne left taxpayers with a £30,000 bill after taking IPSA to tribunal over their failure to pay £1,853 for leaflets that were “political in nature”. He also complained after IPSA rejected a £525 claim for a speechwriter to write a political speech, and when they rejected a £500 claim for political newsletters.

Byrne has a history of abusing both the spirit and the letter of MPs expenses, and Guido can’t imagine the Birmingham MP would blink twice at now misusing public funds to fight his collapsing mayoral campaign. IPSA are likely to investigate Byrne again for a breach of section 16 of the Code of Conduct, all it takes is a complaint from a consituent or another MP to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

mdi-tag-outline IPSA Snouts in the Trough
mdi-account-multiple-outline Liam Byrne
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