Council agrees to end free parking for MPs following criticism

Wakefield Council has agreed to stop issuing free parking permits to the city’s MPs, following criticism.

A meeting heard the local authority had issued two free parking permits to the city’s Labour MP Simon Lightwood, which were returned without use.

Similar permits were also issued to the previous Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan.

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Details of the gifts were revealed during a question submitted to Michael Morley, the council’s cabinet member for planning and highways.

Wakefield One, Wakefield Council\'s headquarters building.Wakefield One, Wakefield Council\'s headquarters building.
Wakefield One, Wakefield Council\'s headquarters building.

A written question from Tony Homewood, independent councillor for Ossett, said Mr Lightwood had recorded a “donation in kind” from the council in his register of interests on the UK’s parliamentary website.

Cllr Homewood said: “This donation in kind is in the form of two free parking permits, with an estimated value of £447.12.

“Can the portfolio holder for planning and highways, who is responsible for car parking in the district, advise the council of the following matters: Were these permits sought by Mr Lightwood, or volunteered by the council? Who were the authorised users of these permits?”

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Cllr Morley replied: “I have looked into this and Simon Lightwood MP doesn’t currently have any parking permits issued by the council.

“The MP register of interest does record two parking permits that we issued in 2022 to support his parliamentary duties.

“These were not linked to any individual vehicles and they were returned to the council as they were not needed.”

Cllr Homewood said MPs can claim parking expenses through the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and the issuing of free permits should be stopped.

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He said: “I understand that the previous MP also had two parking permits.

“No MPs should have any parking permits free from this council.

“Why should we subsidise IPSA?

“Because if they don’t get them free from here, they can claim the money on their expenses.

“I would rather see it in Wakefield Council’s bank account than IPSA’s bank account.

“Can we be assured that such permits will not be granted in future? To anyone, and I don’t care who they are.”

Cllr Morley replied: “Yes.”

Cllr Homewood then said: “Excellent. Job done.”