Losing MPs’ Golden Goodbyes to More Than Double to £17,300

Parliamentary watchdog Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) are more than doubling the taxpayer cash losing MPs will receive at the next general election, going from £8,600 to £17,300. IPSA say this is to ensure the payouts were “fair and provide the appropriate support to MPs and their offices when leaving Parliament”.  The 71 MPs who have already decided to stand down are set to rake in around £615,000 between them…

Taxpayers’ Alliance Chief Executive John O’Connell said:

“Doubling golden goodbyes for MPs is a kick in the teeth for taxpayers. Hard-pressed Britons are already funding generous salaries, perks and pensions for elected officials. Ipsa should be mindful of that when recommending more taxpayers’ money for politicians.”

The Telegraph points out that if the Tories suffer a 100-seat wipeout, the taxpayer would fork out an additional £1 million under the new rules. Maybe Rishi’s best bet is to make it a campaign talking point: each Labour gain will cost the taxpayer thousands…

mdi-timer 25 August 2023 @ 08:59 25 Aug 2023 @ 08:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Four MPs Play Fast and Loose With Rules by Expensing Driving Fines

Four Members of Parliament expensed the taxpayer for a collective £720 to cover their own driving fines. The Independent yesterday reported that Energy Minister Amanda Solloway, Simon Hoare, Bim Afolami and SNP MP Dave Doogan all claimed tickets on expenses. Sollaway’s bill came to £80 while both Doogan and Folami expensed £160. Simon Hoare was the worst offender, with his four bills costing a total of £320…

Obviously, MPs shouldn’t be able to claim expenses for their speeding fines – as IPSA spelt out against Suella Braverman’s best wishes. In response to the story, IPSA admitted they had made a mistake, and said they would reiterate the rules to the MPs. Once again, the expenses watchdog is giving our elected officials a free ride…

UPDATE: A Tory source has been in touch to say Amanda Solloway and Bim Afolami’s fines were related to the congestion charge, rather than speeding.

UPDATE II: Simon Hoare’s expenses were also related to the congestion charge.

mdi-timer 30 May 2023 @ 10:40 30 May 2023 @ 10:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Liam Byrne Charged Personal Campaign Expenses to the Taxpayer

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) have found “overwhelming evidence” that Labour MP Liam Byrne used parliamentary expenses to support his failed West Midlands mayoral campaign. It turns out one of his staff worked on his 2021 campaign while still contracted and paid by Parliament.

Despite working on the campaign for around 1,000 taxpayer-funded hours, IPSA have ruled Byrne will not have to repay the costs:

“Following the investigation, the Compliance Officer found that Mr Byrne did allow a staff member to work on his Mayoral Campaign during times the staff member was being paid by IPSA to conduct parliamentary work. A repayment direction has not been made and there is no requirement for the MP to reimburse IPSA in part for the staff member’s salary.”

Throughout that campaign, 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 2021, 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. Guido was right, despite Byrne’s previous denials that he was fiddling his expenses.

Assuming the staffer was paid around £15 per hour, that’s £15,000 of taxpayers’ cash plus the rent that taxpayer paid to fund his campaign HQ. The man who said there was “no money left” owes taxpayers a lot of money…

mdi-timer 25 May 2023 @ 15:54 25 May 2023 @ 15:54 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Most MPs Have Had Expenses Cards Suspended

Since June 2019, over half of all MPs have had their IPSA expenses cards suspended, 344 in total, according to a Freedom of Information request. IPSA provides MPs procurement cards, which can be used for any business costs allowed under the expenses scheme. If an MP has an outstanding balance, not paid within 30 days, this is treated as a debt to IPSA and the card is suspended. Serious or repeated breaches – including the misuse of the card for personal or non-parliamentary spending and repeated breaches of card conditions – can also lead to suspensions. IPSA admit they can’t find records of any suspensions between September 2018 and May 2019, they also confirm they did not suspend cards during the pandemic – to allow MPs to return home quickly. They are refusing to reveal the identity of any offending MPs…

The cards are basically suspended when they are abused or when the balances are unpaid. If an MP’s card is suspended it is either for misusing public funds or being incompetent with public money. Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves had her card suspended in 2015

IPSA cites risks of endangering “the physical or mental health of any individual” as the justification for withholding this information – pointing to the case of Sir David Amess’ death. The last time Guido checked, MPs expense claims weren’t top of the concerns of Islamist terrorists…

The decision not to name MPs is made more confusing when taken in the context of previous publications – between 2015 and 2018 they were all too happy to share the information. IPSA does reveal the frequency of anonymous MPs’ card suspensions. The mysterious “MP184” had their card suspended 13 times since November 2019…

mdi-timer 12 April 2023 @ 11:06 12 Apr 2023 @ 11:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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
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