It's that time again - the new MPs' expenses receipts have been released. Below is a rolling blog of interesting, bizarre and outrageous claims that we intend to update throughout the day. There are loads of claim forms online to look through, so your help would be much appreciated.
You can find the expenses details for each MP here. The two relevant, new documents for each MP are those titled "Additional Costs Allowance 2008-09" and "Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure 2009-10". Do have a look through as many MPs as you can spare time to do, and let us know of anything interesting that you turn up in the comments below by reporting the item, the page number and the link to the relevant document.
Remember, the media and Uncle Tom Cobley and all will be looking at famous MPs, Ministers etc first, so you might find some of the juiciest and dodgiest claims in the files of obscure MPs you have never heard of!
Wacky, weird and woeful claims
- Elliott Morley MP, famous for being one of the few people in human history to have "forgotten" the day that he paid off his mortgage and thus continuing to claim for it on expenses even after it had ended, clearly hasn't learned his lesson. In April this year, he claimed for a "Faithful Plastic Hawk" (pg 6), a trowel and cement. The mind boggles. UPDATE: Apparently, a "Plastic Hawk" is a plastering tool, rather than a pretend animal (hat-tip Paul Waugh). Doesn't it say everything about how low MPs' reputations have fallen that it was believable, though?
- Cheryl Gillan MP has apparently claimed £225 in one year for ironing, and a selection of Sainsbury's finest fodder (page 3, here). Are getting your clothes ironed for you, or eating free Sainsbury's pork pies, raspberries, waldorf salad and gammon really essential in order to represent your constituents? She also cashed in the Nectar Points on her shopping, so at least she's getting value for money for someone...
- David Crausby MP must have a fantastic view of the news coverage of MPs' expenses - back in February he claimed £799.99 for a swanky plasma TV, complete with cables and stand. No expense(s) spared! (page 70 here).
- Sir Michael Spicer MP managed to bill £3,025 for redecoration works in his second house - although seeing as the invoice is actually made out to Lady Spicer, perhaps the bill doesn't just reflect his tastes. Remarkably, the work included "Internal decoration to wardrobes and cupboards". (Page 72 here)
- John Butterfill MP trumped Sir Michael's revamp with a £5,836.25 new kitchen (Page 7 - 10 here)