MPs’ claims from £166 to 20p rejected by watchdog

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Details of £3.5m of expenses claims by MPs have been published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).

The 27,000 claims made in August and September last year were released by the expenses watchdog as part of its regular updates on expenses.

Ipsa revealed that 52 claims from 41 MPs were knocked back, in part or in full, because they did not meet its criteria for reimbursement by the taxpayer.

The biggest claim to be rejected came from Conservative Erewash MP Jessica Lee for a £166.26 electricity bill for her constituency office. Ipsa said she had provided insufficient evidence to support the claim.

Pat Glass, the Labour MP for North West Durham, had a duplicated £134 council tax claim knocked back.

Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, also had a duplicated council tax claim, for £73.81, rejected.

The smallest amount Ipsa declined to pay was 20p after Manchester Withington MP John Leech, a Liberal Democrat, submitted a claim for £14.42 alongside a mobile telephone bill receipt for just £14.22.

Some 25 MPs had £13.50 stopped from their claims for telephone bills – the value of late payment penalty charges which Ipsa refuses to pay.

MPs also repaid £26,944.97 of previously claimed expenses which they no longer wanted to keep.

Ipsa said reasons for repayments included MPs no longer wishing to claim for certain items or being refunded on utility bills or business rates for which they had already been imbursed by the taxpayer.

The two biggest repayments were for £1,450 and £837.39, both by Liberal Democrat Carshalton MP Tom Brake, who had claimed the money for contents insurance for his office.

Natascha Engel, the Labour MP for North East Derbyshire, paid back £744.40 of office rent.

Labour’s Michael McCann, MP for East Kilbride, paid back a penny from a previously claimed train ticket.

The total claimed in the latest publication was down significantly on the previous two months - June and July - when £5.1 million was paid out in 34,000 claims.

However, the latest period covers claims processed during the summer recess, when MPs spend little time in Westminster, although they may have been incurred during an earlier period.