Spellcheckers, Amazon Prime, Ukrainian Flags and iPads Galore: How MPs Have Expensed Your Taxes

Buried amid the Autumn Statement, today reams of MP expenses data were published, which Guido spent the afternoon flicking through. Here are some of the biggest eyebrow-raisers…

  • Five MPs spent nearly £1,000 on the spellchecker website Grammarly
    • Clive Lewis – £114.25
    • Drew Hendry – £110.01
    • Kate Osborne – £114.02
    • Stephen Farry – £110.01
    • Kate Griffith somehow managed to spend £475.41 on the subscription service
  • Mel Stride spent £53.98 on an iPhone case
  • Esther McVey spent £9.80 on “sweets as prizes for school visit in parliament”
  • Meg Hillier spent £384 on photography
  • Sir Robert Syms bought a thousand pound iPad
  • Alan Campbell spent £13.11 on “long life milk”
  • There appears to have been a vermin problem in three MPs’ offices:
    • Alison Thewlis spent £500 on a deep clean of her premises after a rat infestation
    • Bridget Phillipson spent £90 on vermin control
    • Lloyd Russel-Moyle spent £10.75 on fly papers to “deal with an office fly infestation”
  • Anna McLoughlin spent £39.99 on a “sneeze screen in case team meet constituent exempt from wearing a mask”. It was purchased in March 2022…
  • Anna McLoughlin also spent £89 to “provide drink water for staff without having a long walk to the nearest kitchen area”. How far away is her kitchen area?
  • Barry Gardiner spent £1,155 on video editing
  • Chris Pincher spent £960 at Westminster Digital videos
  • Michael Fabricant spent £116.16 on a VPN so he could watch BBC News while abroad
  • Claudia Webbe managed to spend £115.37 on a phone case
  • David Davis expensed a £11.99 YouTube Premium subscription
  • Douglas Chapman spent £5.25 on a “snack for a guest” in Portcullis House
  • Grant Shapps spent £79.99 on Microsoft Office. Expensing his famous spreadsheet…
  • Leo Docherty expensed £8.87 on a Ukrainian flag
  • Luke Pollard purchased a £2,195 air-conditioning unit
  • Matt Hancock expensed a £43.33 Times subscription, despite the fact MPs and staffers are all entitled to free subscriptions
  • Tobias Ellwood used your tax money for a £7.99 Amazon Prime subscription

Perhaps doing penance for appalling behaviour in his private life, Imran Ahmed Khan actually repaid £1,438 for a Macbook he’d purchased. Recession? What recession…

mdi-timer 17 November 2022 @ 17:07 17 Nov 2022 @ 17:07 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rail Strikes Bring MPs More Taxpayer Funded Perks

While rail strikes threaten to grind the commuter economy to a halt, our elected representatives are getting off particularly lightly. IPSA has published updated guidance for rail strikes, outlining the expanded allowances for travel expenses including taxis and hotels

The IPSA guidance states:

“Where commuting to an office location is unavoidable, and you incur significant costs as a result (e.g. for a long taxi journey), you may consider applying for contingency funding”

The regulator adds they may cover costs for hotel stays for both MPs and staffers. Have they tried working from home?

mdi-timer 8 November 2022 @ 14:17 8 Nov 2022 @ 14:17 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour Chief Whip Breached IPSA Rules

Guido can reveal IPSA has concluded that Labour‘s Chief Whip Sir Alan Campbell broke the rules by publishing a party political survey on his taxpayer-funded website. While the Standards Commissioner’s investigation isn’t yet complete, IPSA has privately declared that expenses “do not allow for surveys to be used in connection with party political purposes, which would include gathering data on people’s voting intentions”. Campbell soon deleted the data retrieved by the survey, although IPSA still gave him a slap on the wrist…

There has been a breach of the rules, in that, the survey posted should not have included questions around voting intentions, whilst the cost of hosting the website was being claimed from IPSA. IPSA are in the process of arranging for the costs to be reimbursed – this will be hosting costs only for the period the survey was in place.”

Campbell insists the data was never shared with the Labour Party, and has vowed never to do it again. He still maintains the survey offered him no “campaigning advantage” whatsoever…

mdi-timer 21 October 2022 @ 15:30 21 Oct 2022 @ 15:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
MPs’ Expenses to Finally be Published in November

The IPSA has announced that the next batch of MP’s expenses will come on November 17, following the previously reported suspension. The initial justification, for delays to reports due in September, was the death of Queen Elizabeth. The period of mourning lasted 10 days, what’s their excuse for the next 6 weeks?

In the bulletin the IPSA also announced further reductions in the detail provided on expense claims, specifically to reporting taxi journeys and surgery venue costs. None of this will surprise co-conspirators. The IPSA has taken any excuse to delay and water-down the transprency of published expenses. In addition to MPs taking liberties with taxpayer funding, we now have to watch the body created to watch them…

mdi-timer 28 September 2022 @ 12:06 28 Sep 2022 @ 12:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Devastated IPSA Still in Mourning Over Queen

Along with every other aspect of British life grinding to a halt following the death of the Queen, on 12 September IPSA announced it was delaying publication of MP business cost data out of respect to Her Majesty. It’s what she would have wanted…

Exactly two weeks on from its announcement, and a week on from the end of national mourning, IPSA is not only yet to publish the figures, it’s yet to announce a new date on which they will do so. Given it also stopped publishing MPs’ expenses data in light of Sir David Amess’s murder, Guido continues to believe the body responsible for publishing MPs’ expenses data is desperate for any excuse not to do their job…

mdi-timer 26 September 2022 @ 17:15 26 Sep 2022 @ 17:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Strike-Affected MPs Will Be Able to Claim Taxis on Expenses

The strikes are on, causing misery for millions of ordinary people, though thankfully the taxpayer’s pockets are once again being dipped into on behalf of MPs. Yesterday a letter went out from IPSA, the expenses body, noting “some concern” amongst MPs about the impact of the planned rail strikes, though reassuring them they have nothing to be scared of:

“where commuting to an office location is unavoidable, and you incur significant costs as a result (e.g. for a long taxi journey), you may consider applying for contingency funding.”

It’s also good news for MPs’ staffers, who have only just lost their work-from-home expenses left over from the pandemic. The same letter promises that, where “a staff member is required to travel to their normal place of work but is unable to return home, or it would be unreasonable to return home and then attempt to travel in the following day, we will consider requests for hotel costs”. We’re all in this together…

mdi-timer 21 June 2022 @ 13:30 21 Jun 2022 @ 13:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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