Read in Full: IPSA to Begin Redacting MPs’ Expenses Information

MPs have been sent a letter by the expenses body IPSA, informing them that as a result of Sir David Amess’s death they are to shortly begin redacting swathes of information being published about MPs’ expenses claims. The letter, sent to Guido, cites “some Members” who since last Friday had voiced concerns about the information being published on travel and constituency surgery venue hire.

Ahead of a wider review – which may include an attack on the information journalists can elicit via FoIs – IPSA announces they are immediately:

“postponing the publication of expenditure information due in November and temporarily removing descriptive detail from previously published claims on our website whilst the review is underway.”

Aside from both the FoI threat and the redactions, which are unjustified and anti-transparent, the main security concern Guido’s heard voiced by MPs this week is that of advertising constituency events and their precise locations in advance. Expenses claims are by very definition retrospective, so Guido cannot see how publishing details of taxi costs, train travel or surgery venue hiring costs is a security risk.

One Labour MP tells The Guardian that IPSA’s publishing of any and all expenses results in increased abuse towards them, and puts colleagues on the defensive “up against hostility about even our stationery budgets.” Not only are MPs turning Sir David’s death into an unjustified exercise in banning online anonymity, it seems some are now trying to find an excuse to return to the old pre-scandal expenses system…

Read the letter in full below:

Read More

mdi-timer 20 October 2021 @ 08:45 20 Oct 2021 @ 08:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Covid Tests on Expenses for MPs Flying Home to Debate Afghanistan

On Saturday holidaymakers were delighted to be told by Sajid Javid they were to get a 20% reduction in the cost of PCR testing when traveling abroad, after criticism from the competition watchdog and tourism industry over cost. While the reduced £68 fee may be of some relief to jet-setters, MPs flying home to participate in tomorrow’s Afghanistan debate will no have such money worries. 

MPs have been informed by IPSA, the independent expenses body, that any claims for reasonable travel by MPs – and their spouses, partners or dependents – to Westminster will be covered by the taxpayer. They specify this will cover international travel back to the UK and return flights to resume any interrupted holidays, after a storm back in 2019 when the body suggested to holidaying MPs they wouldn’t cover international travel expenses after the Supreme Court canceled prorogation. David Morris MP had to postpone his honeymoon…

MPs will also be able to claim for Covid tests “if you incur extra costs”, for example “you have booked and paid for covid tests based on your original travel dates”It’s alright for some…

mdi-timer 17 August 2021 @ 12:00 17 Aug 2021 @ 12:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Your Chance to Have Your Say on MPs’ Pay

Following the campaign by Guido and the TaxPayers’ Alliance for performance-related pay for politicians, IPSA has finally woken up to anger about the current system. The quango is consulting on new temporary measures to adjust MPs pay in line with ‘economic data’ – instead of relying solely on the public sector pay metrics which sees politicians gifted almost automatic rises in times of recession. Rises they know they can’t accept and often wish they were never offered…

Under the proposed changes, independent measures like GDP per capita could be used to revise down the pay recommendations. We should be rewarding politicians based on all our standard of living, not just the rises enjoyed by judges and generals. Bringing MPs remuneration much more into line with the financial struggles of the majority of their constituents. Guido’s friends at the TaxPayers’ Alliance would encourage anyone who wants to see their MP’s pay become performance-related (even if only until 2024) to have their say in the consultation here

mdi-timer 3 August 2021 @ 10:14 3 Aug 2021 @ 10:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
IPSA Launch Investigation into Liam Byrne’s Expenses

IPSA has opened an investigation into expenses claims by Labour MP Liam Byrne, after Guido revealed Andrew Bridgen had reported him to the body for “gross misuse of parliamentary expenses”. Responding to the news of an investigation, a guarded Bridgen said

“Allegations of the diversion of taxpayer funds for political campaigning are a very serious matter and strikes to the very heart of our democratic system.”

Popcorn…

During the West Midlands mayoral race Guido repeatedly questioned Byrne’s use of expenses, raising questions over whether any had been diverted towards his election costs rather than his parliamentary duties. In April Guido brought to light that Bryne’s constituency assistant was describing his primary role on Linkedin as “managing” Liam’s “campaigns”; and his former parliamentary “head of research” professed to having “developed local policy” for his West Midlands mayoral campaign.

Today IPSA announce their compliance officer has opened an investigation “to determine whether Mr Liam Byrne MP has been paid an amount under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses that should not have been allowed.” They specify the investigation will focus on “Staffing and Office Costs in 2019/20″. In April a bitter Byrne denied paying any taxpayer cash toward the running of his campaign. Let’s see what IPSA finds out…

mdi-timer 2 August 2021 @ 12:56 2 Aug 2021 @ 12:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Byrne Denies Diverting Public Funds to His Mayoral Campaign

Labour’s West Midlands Mayoral Candidate Liam Byrne went on the defensive last night following Guido’s revelations he may have breached IPSA regulations when using Parliamentary expenses to fund his campaign. Reacting to the news that Leicester MP Andrew Bridgen had asked IPSA to investigate, Byrne sneered:

“I have not, and I will not take lessons from Andrew Bridgen, who is a man who racked up £24,000 worth of expenses on hotels, and has one of the worst voting records in the House of Commons…”

Still seeing red, Byrne turned his ire towards the interviewer –  Reach PLC‘s Jonathan Walker – who quizzed him over the wage payments of his one of former staffers:

“What was disappointing about the story that you wrote on this, John, is that you didn’t bother to contact the individual concerned. If you had done that, which is actually a standard of integrity we expect from Reach PLC journalists, she would have told you that she worked in a voluntary capacity outside office hours on that work […] Now, we’re not going to take action against you and Reach, but frankly, you put yourself on the wrong side of the line when you wrote that.”

As Guido revealed yesterday, IPSA is now warning MPs that “using any IPSA-funded resources for your election campaign may be a criminal offence”Byrne must be very confident…

mdi-timer 29 April 2021 @ 13:07 29 Apr 2021 @ 13:07 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
IPSA’s Funding Warning to Liam Byrne

Following Guido’s story that Labour’s West Midlands Mayoral Candidate Liam Byrne had breached IPSA regulations by funnelling parliamentary expenses into his campaign fund, IPSA themselves have now released a well-timed news bulletin containing updated guidance on the use of their cash:

“Any use of IPSA funds for either party or candidate campaign purposes contravenes the IPSA rules and may also be regarded as a donation by the Electoral Commission. IPSA is not a permissible donor for candidates, and so using any IPSA-funded resources for your election campaign may be a criminal offence. If you plan on campaigning, it is vital you read this guidance.”

Byrne might want to give the rules a quick look, considering almost £8,000 worth of his funding is currently unaccounted for…

mdi-timer 28 April 2021 @ 14:10 28 Apr 2021 @ 14:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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