IPSA Refuse to Fly MPs Home

Parliament’s independent body responsible for MP’s expenses, IPSA, is refusing to pay out for MPs jollying abroad who now need to fly home, Guido has learnt. A victory for the taxpayer…

Whilst Guido understands a Lib Dem whip is now stranded until he finds the cash to pay for the flights himself, things could be worse: Guido has seen the Tory MPs’ Whatsapp group where newlywed David Morris has informed colleagues he has had to postpone his honeymoon…

UPDATE: IPSA have now u-turned on their opposition to paying for MPs to come back from abroad – having sent an email to MPs saying not only will they pay for MPs coming back from abroad, but for their spouses and partners too. Now seems a bit overly generous…

Our original source in the Lib Dems, however, assures us that at 1.30pm, IPSA was refusing to fork out for flights back. However, after pressure from the Lib Dem whip and others, they have u-turned.

IPSA Refuse Staffer Pay Requests

After a barrage of complaints from angry staffers over the inequitable rise in MPs pay compared to staff budgets, IPSA has doubled down on their original decision. MPs will still get their 2.7% pay rise, but staffing budgets will only rise by a paltry 1.5%. That’s less than the rate of inflation – a real terms cut…

“Having carefully considered the arguments put to us and the concerns raised, the Board has confirmed its original decision of a 1.5% increase to MPs’ staffing budgets from April 2019. We acknowledge the strongly held views on this issue, and we are therefore writing individually to all MPs and to all staff members to notify them of the decision and to provide additional information.”

A host of furious staffers have told Guido that this is a “kick in the teeth” for them when they are “under paid and underfunded when they do the brunt of the work for the MP.” Their workload has risen in recent months and now staffing budgets are set to fall…

UPDATE: The Members’ and Peers’ Staff Association tells Guido that its members are angry.

“MAPSA are extremely disappointed and feel that staff have been badly let down by the organisation that is supposed to facilitate MPs offices to do the best jobs possible for their constituents. With dramatically increased workloads staff are already stretched and to receive the news that they are receiving what amounts to a real terms cut, has angered many.”

Parliamentary Staff Lash Out at “Kick in the Chuddies” as MPs Get Almost Double Their Pay Rise

Parliamentary staffers have reacted with fury to the news that MPs are set to get a pay rise almost double the size of their hardworking staff. IPSA revealed today that MPs would be getting a 2.7% pay rise this year, while staff budgets would only be going up by 1.5%. That’s only an uplift on the total staff budget, not even a payrise on individual salaries…

Staffer WhatsApp groups have been buzzing with angry messages with some angry aides even joking about going on strike. One staffer wrote “So pissed off! Have sent an angry email to IPSA…won’t do any good, but 🤬🤬🤬”, another said “I’m on page 3 and it’s already making me furious. No parity increase so as to avoid setting a precedent. Shameful.” Another irate aide memorably described it as “A kick in the chuddies for all the work we’ve been doing”…

IPSA were even warned that an outcry would happen would happen last month, with members of the Speaker’s Committee telling the IPSA Chair and Chief Executive that:

“on the pure visuals of saying that MPs are getting this much and their staff that much… we are kind of giving [the press] a target to go after… I realise where we are on this and the logic behind it, but we have to come up with something that stops it looking quite so bad”.

IPSA’s Chair responded that they had “looked at what was affordable” but did not want to “set a precedent by creating parity”. If an increase for staff is so unaffordable then why are MPs getting almost twice as much?

IPSA Paying Out Compensation to Parliamentary Staffers Following Data Breach

Following a massive data breach in 2017, Guido has learned that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has paid out significant damages to at least seven Parliamentary staffers. Dozens more are in the process of having their enquiries dealt with

The March 2017 breach saw IPSA erroneously publishing online the names, salaries and expenses of MPs’ staff, potentially exposing them to identity fraud, illegal sale and misuse of their information, and invasion of privacy. Parliament showing in more ways than one it doesn’t know what it’s doing with data and the internet…

“Serious Data Breach” by Expenses Watchdog

Expenses watchdog IPSA has written to all MPs and their staff to apologise for what it calls a “serious data breach” on its website last night. IPSA says it accidentally published confidential documents on its site which revealed “MPs staff names, salaries, rewards, working patterns and holiday entitlements”. IPSA says the material was accessible for about four hours and has now been removed.

31 March 2017

Dear Staff Member

I am very sorry to write to inform you that last night there was a serious data breach on the old IPSA website. Some documents were published in error. These should not have been made public as they contained confidential personal information about MPs‘ staff names, salaries, rewards, working patterns and holiday entitlements.

I would like to reassure you that no information relating to the security of the individuals affected was made public – no addresses, no bank account details, no phone numbers, and no National Insurance numbers were disclosed. However, we recognise that this was still extremely sensitive personal information.

We take information security very seriously and the safety and security of MPs and their staff is a priority. An investigation is currently undenNay and we have notified the Information Commissioner. We will be writing directly to all of those affected.

Our first priority was to remove the data from our website as soon as we were first notified and it was taken down from our website last night within an hour of becoming aware of the issue. We believe that the information was accessible for around four hours and we will keep you updated with further details as we carry out a full investigation.

Please contact us if you have any questions at this stage. I sincerely apologise to you for the distress this has caused.

IPSA, already loathed by MPs, about to become even less popular…

Labour Plan to Abolish MPs’ Expenses Receipts Because Filing Them is a “Chore”


Labour have drawn up plans to end the requirement for MPs to provide receipts for expenses claims. The staggeringly opaque proposals have been made by Shadow Leader of the House Paul Flynn, who is responsible for his party’s policy on MPs’ expenses. Flynn admits his plan is “provocative“, but claims it is necessary to abolish the expenses watchdog and implement an unreceipted allowance for MPs, because filing expenses is a “chore“. The text of the plan, seen by Guido, states:

“A monthly 30 minute chore was complicated by IPSA into hours of tedious frustrating trawling through a bureaucratic morass of rules that are complex and tedious. IPSA robs MPs and our staff of much of their most precious possession – time. There is continuing resentment against unnecessary chores that diminish MPs ability to do their numberless essential tasks.”

Hundreds of thousands of workers across the country take the time to file expenses claims, but Flynn says that’s too much effort for MPs…

He argues the current system, which allows the public to hold MPs to account on each expenses claim they make, should be abolished and replaced by a new “automatic” allowance with no receipts and no transparency whatsoever:

“MPs would embrace a new system without claims or the expensive IPSA. It could be based on an allowance calculated on average expenses based on distance from Westminster and paid automatically.”

So he wants the taxpayer to write MPs a cheque for tens of thousands of pounds and never know how the money is spent. Opaque, unaccountable and ripe for corruption, this is Labour’s new policy on expenses…

UPDATE: A Labour spokesman says “What Paul Flynn has suggested is not Labour Party policy”. But as Shadow Leader of the House Flynn is responsible for their policy on MPs’ expenses…

Named and Shamed: Full List of MPs Shagging Their Secretaries

This morning IPSA revealed MPs had sent £21 million of taxpayer cash to family members in the last five years. Guido names and shames the MPs who employ wives, husbands and children on the public payroll below…

MPs who currently employ their spouse/partner according to the Register of Members Interests:

  1. Nigel Adams employs his wife
  2. David Amess employs his wife
  3. Caroline Ansell employs her husband
  4. Richard Arkless employs his wife
  5. Adrian Bailey employs his wife
  6. Margaret Beckett employs her husband
  7. Henry Bellingham employs his wife
  8. Hilary Benn employs his wife
  9. Paul Beresford employs his wife
  10. Clive Betts employs his partner
  11. Bob Blackman employs his wife
  12. Peter Bone employs his wife
  13. Karen Bradley employs her husband
  14. Graham Brady employs his wife
  15. Julian Brazier employs his wife
  16. Alistair Burt employs his wife
  17. Liam Byrne employs his wife
  18. Gregory Campbell employs his wife
  19. Ronnie Campbell employs his wife
  20. Douglas Carswell employs his wife
  21. William Cash employs his wife
  22. Maria Caulfield employs her partner
  23. Christopher Chope employs his wife
  24. Alberto Costa employs his wife
  25. Stephen Crabb employs his wife
  26. David Crausby employs his wife
  27. Byron Davies employs his wife
  28. David Davies employs his wife
  29. Glyn Davies employs his wife
  30. Jeffrey Donaldson employs his wife
  31. Steve Double employs his wife
  32. Jackie Doyle-Price employs her partner
  33. Michael Dugher employs his wife
  34. Graham Evans employs his wife
  35. Michael Fallon employs his wife
  36. Caroline Flint employs her husband
  37. Paul Flynn employs his wife
  38. Yvonne Fovargue employs her husband
  39. Roger Gale employs his wife
  40. Barry Gardiner employs his wife
  41. Mark Garnier employs his wife
  42. Cheryl Gillan employs her husband
  43. John Glen employs his wife
  44. Robert Goodwill employs his wife
  45. Helen Grant employs her husband
  46. James Gray employs his wife
  47. Chris Grayling employs his wife
  48. Stephen Hammond employs his wife
  49. Simon Hart employs his wife
  50. Alan Haselhurst employs his wife
  51. John Hayes employs his wife
  52. Oliver Heald employs his wife
  53. John Healey employs his wife
  54. Simon Hoare employs his wife
  55. Sharon Hodgson employs her husband
  56. Kelvin Hopkins employs his wife
  57. George Howarth employs his wife
  58. Lindsay Hoyle employs his wife
  59. Dan Jarvis employs his wife
  60. Diana Johnson employs her partner
  61. Gareth Johnson employs his wife
  62. Gerald Jones employs his partner
  63. Helen Jones employs her husband
  64. George Kerevan employs his wife
  65. Greg Knight employs his wife
  66. Ian Lavery employs his wife
  67. Edward Leigh employs his wife
  68. Emma Lewell-Buck employs her husband
  69. Ian Liddell-Grainger employs his wife
  70. Tim Loughton employs his wife
  71. Ian Lucas employs his wife
  72. Angus MacNeil employs his wife
  73. John Mann employs his wife
  74. Karl McCartney employs his wife
  75. Patrick McLoughlin employs his wife
  76. Alan Meale employs his wife
  77. Johnny Mercer employs his wife
  78. Grahame Morris employs his wife
  79. James Morris employs his wife
  80. Sheryll Murray employs her partner
  81. Andrew Murrison employs his wife
  82. Brendan O’Hara employs his wife
  83. Neil Parish employs his wife
  84. Priti Patel employs her husband
  85. Owen Paterson employs his wife
  86. Teresa Pearce employs her partner
  87. Mike Penning employs his wife
  88. Jess Phillips employs her husband
  89. Stephen Pound employs his wife
  90. Yasmin Qureshi employs her husband
  91. Jonathan Reynolds employs his wife
  92. Laurence Robertson employs his wife
  93. Alec Shelbrooke employs his wife
  94. Dennis Skinner employs his partner
  95. Angela Smith employs her husband
  96. Henry Smith employs his wife
  97. John Stevenson employs his partner
  98. Bob Stewart employs his wife
  99. Gary Streeter employs his wife
  100. Julian Sturdy employs his wife
  101. Desmond Swayne employs his wife
  102. Hugo Swire employs his wife
  103. Robert Syms employs his wife
  104. Mark Tami employs his wife
  105. Michael Tomlinson employs his wife
  106. Derek Twigg employs his wife
  107. Valerie Vaz employs her husband
  108. Martin Vickers employs his wife
  109. Charles Walker employs his wife
  110. Ben Wallace employs his wife
  111. David Warburton employs his wife
  112. Iain Wright employs his wife

MPs who currently employ other family members:

  1. Ian Blackford employs his step-son
  2. Rehman Chishti employs his sister
  3. Thérèse Coffey employs her sister
  4. Alex Cunningham employs his son
  5. Nadine Dorries employs her daughter
  6. Jim Dowd employs his nephew
  7. Julie Elliott employs her son
  8. Pat Glass employs her niece
  9. Neil Gray employs his brother-in-law
  10. John Howell employs his daughter
  11. Simon Kirby employs his sister
  12. Paul Monaghan employs his brother
  13. Kate Osamor employs her son
  14. Albert Owen employs his son-in-law
  15. Dan Poulter employs his mother
  16. Graham Stringer employs his step-daughter
  17. Graham Stuart employs his sister
  18. Craid Whittaker employs his daughter
  19. Corri Wilson employs her son

MPs are doing to the taxpayer what they do to their secretaries…

Ex-War on Want Boss Recommended As IPSA Chair

ruth evans

Guido was intrigued to see who would be chosen as IPSA’s new chair, an important role that fetches £70,000-a-year for only two days work a week. Turns out the the speaker has opted for Ruth EvansShe’s the former general secretary of the left-wing campaign “War on Want”.

That is the same War on Want that  actively supported the Sandinista regime on her watch and throughout the 1980s, even going as far as to launch a “Nicaragua Must Survive” campaign backed by George Galloway at the height of the tyranny in 1985. Aside from their Nicaraguan antics they are well known for their anti-Israel campaigns that lead to a number of investigations by the Charities Commission. Nice to see that IPSA is continuing the great Parliamentary tradition of appointing left-wingers in supposedly neutral roles…

Best Reponses to MP Pay Rise Consultation

Sitting somewhere in an office on Millbank, an IPSA employee sifts through the hundreds of responses to their consultation on MPs’ pay while trying to justify giving them an extra 10%. Here are some of the Great British public’s more forthright contributions.

D.W. Jukes speaks for a nation:

“Obviously shut up in your little Westminster bubble, you have not noticed that the rating of MPs among the electorate is at an all time low. People feel that MPs are totally out of touch with voters, and your decision to review their pay now only confirms it.”

While John F Roga is a fan of caps lock:


Though he’s not as angry as this anonymous writer:

“The watchdog whoever he is is he an IDIOT or what saying the MPs should get 90k a year they DON’T DESERVE 50k a year or there CARS & EXPENSES should be STOPPED until the economy is a lot better.”

Captain Bryn Wayt is getting religious on them (his use of bold):

“I submit this document as a private individual and Christian taxpayer. I furnish my thoughts on the proven fact that the majority of MP’s were fiddling their “expenses” and robbing the public purse before the Telegraph blew their game apart in 2009. Somehow, most of them escaped jail by the skin of their teeth. Such despicable and dishonest behaviour will not be tolerated ever again.”

Mr JR McAvoy makes a not unreasonable point:

“Under no circumstances should you even consider raising their generous salary’s. There would be a national outcry against if you did”

Made slightly more forcefully by F. Biard:


This anonymous contributor used a powerful sign-off:

“It is immoral for an MP to draw a full salary and hardly ever appear in the house. The excuse of doing constituency work does not wash. Gordon Brown, Chris Huhne, David Miliband, Liam Fox, George Galloway just some names to consider. Yet another disillusioned citizen of what was once Great Britain.”

While John Bell gave greedy MPs a choice:

“MP’s have the same option as every one else if they are unhappy. They can resign and get another job more to their liking and they should be reminded they have this option.”

Best of the bunch? Here is Robert Nielson Donald:

“sir i put it to you they do not need a pay rise they first need to stop double dealing with renting their house to a fellow member then claim expences on another house it is day light robbery, i would love to tell them face to face exactly how the public feel about this. any increase in their salary when the nation is facing price rises in fuel and many being laid off would be a kick in the teeth for the rest of the nation whilst these parasites want more, in closing can i wish you all a merry christmas and a happy new year”

Well said, Robert. Well said.

Rent Your Flat To an MP, If You Dare

Nice to see the mansions of SW1 getting a look in – this letter has been posted to flat owners near Westminster – but surely this has to be the biggest fib of the election? MPs will be “good quality, respectable tenants”:

Dolphin Square landlords need not apply…

MPs Moan as IPSA Boss Wants Second Term

Sir Ian Kennedy, Chairman of their expenses watchdog IPSA, will be seeking another term as chief defender against the piggy-fiddlers, Despite being widely disliked by both MPs and officials, Sir Ian has told friends he has ‘thrown his hat in again’ despite some confusion about whether he’s even allowed to serve a second term in the £100,000 job.

Well at least MPs of all colours will have something to grumble about for the summer.

IPSA's False Deal

IPSA have confirmed their recommendation to whack up MPs’ pay to £74,000. Their reforms in full:

  • A one-off uplift in salary to £74,000 in 2015, an increase of 9.26%, to address the historic shortfall. Thereafter, MPs’ pay will be linked to average earnings – if they go up, so will MPs’. If they don’t, neither will MPs’.
  • A new pension on a par with those in other parts of the public service, saving the taxpayer millions. Following public consultation on our proposals from earlier this year, we have decided to increase MPs’ pension contributions further, reducing the cost to the taxpayer even further.
  • Scrapping out-of-touch “resettlement payments” worth tens of thousands of pound per MP. These will be replaced with more modest loss-of-office payments, which will be available only to those who contest their seat and lose.
  • A tighter regime of business costs and expenses, including ending the provision for evening meals.

IPSA seem to be taking the approach that they have to come to some sort of deal with MPs; that if MPs agree not to fiddle their expenses, sign up to a more reasonable expenses regime, increase their contribution towards their gold-plated pensions and give up their resettlement payments, then they can have a pay rise. This is a false offer. There is absolutely nothing to stop IPSA toughening up on expenses and pensions and ditching the resettlement grant with no pay rise sweetener attached. The only ‘deal’ on the table should be that all these things happen without the condition of a pay rise…

IPSA's Imaginary Pay Problem

Writing in The Times this morning, IPSA’s Sir Ian Kennedy is adamant

ipsaWe will announce a one-off pay rise. Thereafter MPs’ pay will move with the pay of the rest of us. That’s a sensible way forward, which we will implement after a further review of conditions in 2015.

I know there is a tension between the reasoning and the politics but we were asked to fix the problem for a generation, not for a news cycle. That is what we have done. The alternative approach takes us back to the days of political deals, with scandal never far away. I can’t believe anyone seriously believes that is the way forward.

Of all the problems in politics, the problem of underpaid MPs is not one that Guido or the voters have noticed. MPs are paid a handsome £66,396, plus another £14,728 if they chair one of the 39 select committees. If they make it to Cabinet, the pay goes up to £134,565 — more than doubling their salary. They are paid a basic salary that puts them in the top income decile. For this, as Gordon Brown shows, they have to do nothing. They also get another £20,100 towards accommodation expenses. Hundreds of them are paid more as ministers or for having extra responsibilities – chairing committees. The average MP costs taxpayers over £100,000 in pay and personal expenses.

It is little acknowledged by IPSA that since 2000 MPs’ earnings have outstripped the consumer price index and since the 1980s their earnings have risen from double the average to the triple figure that they enjoy today. Although politicians are professionally skilled in advancing an argument, they will find it impossible to convince the public that they have gone from being worth twice the average wage to being three times as much. There is no lack of applicants for MPs’ jobs. There is no pay problem.


Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Public Administration committee, said of the re-renting scandal:

“There must be no impression that parliamentary expenses are being used as back door funding for political parties.” 

Kicked into action, last week IPSA published a list of MPs that rent off their parties or unions. […] Read the rest


Exclusive: IPSA Makes Thousands of False Tax Declarations

The pen-pushers at IPSA are meant to restore confidence in the expenses system and avoid the pitfalls of paperwork cock-ups, deliberate or not, that have blighted Parliament for so long. Red faces all round then as it seems thousands of MPs staff will get a bit of a shock when they open their annual P60 certificate.[…] Read the rest


How Do You Solve a Problem Like IPSA?

Before Parliament has even resumed for the year, the battle between IPSA and the MPs has flared up again, with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority attempting to use the public as a human shield against aggrieved members. IPSA clearly isn’t working, but the MPs prove time and again that they cannot be trusted to be their own expenses regulator.[…] Read the rest


+++ Auditor General Refuses to Sign Off MPs Expenses +++

The £800,000 worth of non-existant receipts between 2009/10 was, unsurprisingly, a bit of an issue. And that was before the £1.8 million claimed by MPs on trial or under investigation by the Police was taken out of consideration…


UPDATE: The statement:

“The qualification arises because the House authorities were unable to provide evidence to support payments to MPs of £2.6 million, including £0.8 million that remains unsupported despite a major exercise to obtain evidence retrospectively and £1.8 million where evidence is not available for audit because the MPs are under investigation by the police.In addition, the evidence supporting £11.3 million of costs reimbursed to Members was not sufficient for the C&AG to confirm the expenditure had been incurred for Parliamentary purposes.

[…] Read the rest



The MPs got to have a good moan about IPSA, some of it justified, a lot of it hot air, in the House yesterday. Amongst the rants and rages was one snippet that stood out from Labour’s Ann Clewyd. She directly accused IPSA’s ironically named communications director Anne Power of leaking details to the press of MPs expenses.[…] Read the rest


First Piggy on Trial as IPSA Blows More Cash

As Elliot Morley’s trial gets underway today, the MPs’ expenses bee will simply not leave the Westminster bonnet. ePolitix reports that IPSA are going to spend a million pounds releasing the MPs expense claims data, though there is some confusion over whether receipts will be included in that.[…] Read the rest


IPSA-a-Daisy II

Last month they were accidentally paying people when they shouldn’t and now today, payday, it’s the turn of the bag-carriers and researchers to rage at IPSA. Scores of Parliamentary staff have been underpaid this month, with errors ranging from £20 to £300 shy.[…] Read the rest


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