Socialist Worker

MPs make 400 claims for expenses less than a pound

Issue No. 2495

A TORY MP claimed 45p mileage to drive herself to the start line of a marathon.

Anne Marie Morris launched Dartmoor Vale Races last October but let taxpayers fund the mile-long car journey rather than walk for 20 minutes.

The Newton Abbot MP also pocketed 45p for a similar journey a month earlier to get to the Devon town’s Cheese and Onion Fayre.

They were among 400 claims for a pound or less revealed by the parliamentary watchdog.

Fellow Tory Ben Howlett claimed 9p for a car journey of 300 yards—equivalent to a four-minute walk.

The Bath MP filed a bill for his trip from Hayesfield Girls’ School to Oldfield Park Baptist Church. And Conservative member for North Dorset Simon Hoare made five claims each under 30p, including two for journeys of just 650 yards at 17p.

Labour’s Stephen Kinnock, attacked for buying a milk frother for his office, bagged a £278 sofa.

Those claims were all upheld, but new SNP MP Phil Boswell had £137 of expenses for clothes rejected by watchdog IPSA when his luggage was lost.

Plymouth Moor View Tory Johnny Mercer—who said he was living on his moored yacht to save taxpayers’ cash —trousered £6,000 for a website.

And Troublemaker regular, novellist, I’m a Celebrity contestant and Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire Nadine Dorries was reimbursed £7,280 for accommodation. That’s two years after announcing on a blog, “I have removed myself from the personal expenses system.”


David Lammy’s unsuccessful phone record

Labour MP David Lammy must surely set some kind of record by making 35,000 nuisance phone calls in just two days.

To be precise, he did not make them personally, nor did he realise he was breaking privacy rules.

The recipients were thousands of Labour Party members in London who answered their phones. They heard a recorded message urging them to vote for David Lammy to be their candidate in the mayoralty election.

Most didn't.

He came fourth with 9.4 percent of first preference votes. The Information Commissioner fined him £5,000.


The jobs market for people who sit on a sofa next to Michael Portillo appears to have a large gender pay gap. The register of MPs’ interests shows the differential fees for being a sidekick on the BBC’s This Week. Liz Kendall was paid £350 for doing the job on January 21, Caroline Flint got £500 a week later and Alan Johnson got £700 the week after that.


Cameron loves you wherever you are

David Cameron has been touting around a series of almost identical articles to local newspapers in an attempted PR “carpet bombing” of the country outside London.

The Yorkshire Post said it discovered tweaked versions of the same piece had been sent to several other titles as part of what it called a “sham media operation”.

The prime minister’s piece began with the words “I love Yorkshire & the Humber”.

“It appeared very formulaic, lacked empathy and only made passing reference to the misery caused by the Yorkshire floods,” the paper said.

The Herald, a Plymouth newspaper, published a piece from Cameron which began, “I love Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.” The Newcastle Chronicle started, “I love Northumberland.”

And the Lincolnshire Echo, “I love Lincolnshire.”


Usually political rivals sit beside each other on Andrew Marr’s sofa at the end of his Sunday televison show. John McDonnell wasn’t allowed to sit next to George Osborne. Apparently the cuts chancellor refused to share a couch. A source said, “He’s scared of McDonnell looking like the senior politician”.


Budget is for ‘stupid, affluent and lazy people’

George Osborne is said to have stated his ahead of last year’s general election that his budget would only really help “stupid, affluent and lazy people”. That’s according to a memoir by a minister of the Coalition government.

The book, by the former schools minister David Laws, also claims Cameron describes Michael Gove as “nuts” and a “Maoist”.

He is also “petrified” of Boris Johnson who he says is after his job.

The prime minister apparently also stated that “mad” right wing Tory MPs and the rise of Ukip had foisted the EU referendum on him. Laws writes, “The Chancellor’s financial targets meant £33 billion more of fiscal tightening, not £25 billion as Osborne claimed, the Chancellor’s extraordinary response was: ‘£25 billion and £33 billion are pretty similar. We can just fudge that a bit. But it will still be very popular—we have polled it.”

 


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.