Hey! Big spenders
PUBLISHED: 16:58 13 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:52 12 August 2010
THREE Tory MPs who pocket an average of £373,639 a year in expenses have refused to come clean about their claims. All of Bromley s three MPs claim for their second homes but when approached by the Times not one of them volunteered to explain where exact
THREE Tory MPs who pocket an average of £373,639 a year in expenses have refused to come clean about their claims.
All of Bromley's three MPs claim for their second homes but when approached by the Times not one of them volunteered to explain where exactly the money goes.
Beckenham MP Jacqui Lait has claimed the most over the last four financial years, pocketing a total of £526,445 in expenses including the second home allowance, staff costs and postage and stationery.
John Horam, MP for Orpington, claimed £458,215 in the same period whereas Bromley and Chislehurst MP Bob Neill claimed £254,949 in the two years he has been an MP, after he won the 2007 by-election.
Leaked details have already revealed that scores of MPs, of all parties, have shockingly abused the system by claiming for items including horse manure, swimming pool cleaning and chandelier hanging.
Last financial year alone taxpayers forked out £19,108 for Mr Neill to live 39 miles from his constituency in Southend.
Voters also paid £15,478 last year for Ms Lait to have a constituency flat, while she lives more than 70 miles away in Rye in East Sussex, where her husband is Leader of East Sussex County Council.
Claiming the least compared to his fellow constituency MPs, Mr Horam pocketed £11,452 a year on his second home.
All expenses are paid on top of an annual salary of £64,766 for all London MPs.
Full details of what the money was spent on will be revealed in July when their expenses receipts will be published on the parliament website. continued on page 3
MPs fought to keep this information private but the courts ruled that the Freedom of Information Act applies to parliament.
One of these MPs was Clive Efford in neighbouring Eltham. He said: "Before I was against publishing all the receipts as I thought people would pick up on petty things like a packet of biscuits but now I say publish and be damned.
"How can you justify putting a chandelier on expenses? It beggars belief. Or paying for your gardener for your stately home? I can understand MPs who have to claim to live away from home. I don't mind that at all. But I never in my wildest dreams thought that somebody would be able to claim to have their swimming pool cleaned.
"Which set of rules says that to be an MP it is essential that we have a swimming pool maintained?"
Sacked Tory Derek Conway, the MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup said he "did not expect" any nasty shocks for residents when his receipts were published.
He said: "It is no surprise the press are having a field day and the public are rightly appalled.
"MPs have been underpaid for years and years."
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bromley Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.