UK MP’s continue with their expense claim shenanigans

Of course UK MP’s are not alone among politicians who make creative and extravagant expense claims. I would suspect that Members of the European Parliament in particular could teach the UK MP’s more than a few tricks in this regard.

But The Telegraph reports the UK MP’s still spend considerable time pushing the envelope of what is an allowable expense  – even after the supposed crack-down on expenses.

A list of 1,574 claims, rejected by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) in the space of five months, shows that politicians have attempted to claim back money for their mortgage repayments, first-class travel and excessive hospitality.

The document, obtained by The Times newspaper, which lists a total of rejected claims worth £116,359, also reveals how parliamentarians submitted duplicate claims and did not provide suitable documentary evidence to back up their claims.

One MP was refused £338 for a shredder, while another tried to claim £1,057 for advertising. A third asked for £1,085 for ”contingencies”. All claims, which were submitted between May and September this year, were refused by Ipsa – the body set up to administer MPs expense claims.

The unsuccessful claims amounted to 7% of the total submitted by MPs during the period.

The most bizarre claims:

a limed oak toilet seat

  • £97: Derek Conway (Ind, Old Bexley & Sidcup) two ‘limed oak toilet seats’. Also spent £76 on two loo roll holders at Peter Jones in London
  • 55p: Andrew Selous (Con, South West Beds) claimed for a mug of Horlicks in the House of Commons tea room one evening in March this year
  • 99p: Danny Alexander (Lib Dem, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey) bought Mr Muscle cleaning fluid from a 99p shop
  • £43.56: James Arbuthnot (Con, Hampshire NE) successfully claimed for three ‘Genius 4 piece garlic peeling & cutting set’ bought on QVC shopping channel
  • £760: Alan Milburn (Lab, Darlington) went on a shopping spree in John Lewis in March 2009 including Nigella Lawson measuring spoons and a Jamie Oliver frying pan
  • £175: Julie Kirkbride (Con, Bromsgrove) claimed for a Samuel Heath Curzon extending shaving mirror from John Lewis
  • £5: Ben Chapman (Lab, Wirral South) claimed for a three pack of ‘waffle’ coat hangers from John Lewis
  • £2,300: Crispin Blunt (Con, Reigate) claimed for ‘brickwork’ including work on his ‘water wheel structure’ and terracotta fireplace
  • £2: Phil Hope (Lab, Corby) claimed for a Hamburger Maker from John Lewis, together with a £5 swivel peeler and two £6 tea towels
  • £24: Lindsay Roy (Lab, Glenrothes) bought a Babyliss Salon Dry hairdryer despite having thinning hair. His claim was rejected by the fees office
  • £105: Douglas Alexander (Lab, Paisley & Renfrewshire South) claimed for having the chimney swept at his designated second home in Scotland
  • £562.23: Kali Mountford (Lab, Colne Valley) bought an LCD TV in West Yorkshire but said it was for her designated second home in London
  • £2.95: David Ruffley (Con, Bury St Edmunds) bought an ‘anti moth proofer’ from Peter Jones of Sloane Square. A few months later he bought another six anti-moth sachets costing £24
  • £420: Lynne Jones (Lab, Birmingham Selly Oak) claimed for Farrow & Ball Toile Trellis wallpaper in April 2008, and also claimed £28.80 for a food mixer

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