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Bradford MPs claim £680,000 over 14 months for expenses
Bradford MPs claimed a total of more than £680,000 in expenses in 14 months, it has been revealed.
The figures released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), set up in the wake of the scandal which saw four MPs jailed, detail claims from April 2011 to the end of May.
Expenses are published online every two months as part of the drive for transparency.
The figures show Gerry Sutcliffe (Lab, Bradford South) submitted claims for £148,784.94, Philip Davies (Con, Shipley ) £145,175.81, David Ward (Lib Dem, Bradford East) £139,864.21 and Kris Hopkins (Con, Keighley ) £138,415.87. The late Bradford West Labour MP Marsha Singh submitted receipts for £115,706.64.
An average of £100,000 for each MP is staffing costs and claims for thousands of pounds were submitted for running their constituency offices. The remainder is claimed for London rents while they are in Westminster and travel to and from the constituency.
According to the Ipsa data, Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) claimed the most of the district MPs in expenses at £188,783.
The expenses body also said it is possible that an MP has since made additional claims relating to the financial year 2011/12. Nationally, £89 million was spent.
Ipsa chair Sir Ian Kennedy said the new transparent process was “inconceivable” a few years ago.
He said the data showed the MPs expenses scandal is “behind us” and MPs are abiding by the rules.
Mr Kennedy added: “There will be some who might say ‘this is too much’ or ‘I could do it for less’. But we should look at the issue in more depth.
“MPs are there to represent us. If we want to be able to see our MP, contact their staff – and it is in on MPs’ staff where most of this expense goes – visit MPs’ offices, have them write to us, represent us in Parliament and help us with problems in the constituency, we have to face the fact that there is a cost to doing so. If we want a good service from our MPs, we have to fund them. And if you don't think you get a good service from your MP, the answer is not to withhold funding, it is to use your vote.”
Expenses cover items and costs MPs incur in their work.
A spokesman for Mr Mulholland’s office said his staffing costs were higher in 2011/12 due to health problems among two members of staff in his constituency office which incurred the additional expense of using temporary workers which had been approved by Ipsa.
No claims were available for the new Bradford West MP George Galloway who came into Parliament in April.