Hemsworth MP defends expenses claims

MP Jon Trickett outside the job centre in Hemsworth.'h8929a224
MP Jon Trickett outside the job centre in Hemsworth.'h8929a224
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Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett has defended his expenses bill after racking up costs of more than £42,000.

Figures released by a parliamentary watchdog revealed Mr Trickett’s London flat cost the taxpayer £20,000 in rent during 2012/13.

Data from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) also showed the public purse paid £11,360.18 to cover the cost of running his constituency office, while travel expenses came to £8,063.80.

But the long-standing MP defended his claims and said many of the costs are paid directly by IPSA – the public body funded by the Treasury which was set up in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal.

He said: “It is important to be aware that none of the money allocated for accommodation, IT, stationery and office costs, etc, are received by me or go through my bank account. IPSA reimburse the suppliers and landlord directly.

“I promised the electorate that I would open an office in the constituency, a promise which I have honoured. Equally I promised that I would live in the area.

“I also have an office in the House of Commons. At any one time my office is assisting an average of over 1000 constituents with individual issues or problems.”

Mr Trickett made 12 claims of £1,950 for his London flat, but repaid £3,400. He also claimed £1,752.20 in IT and equipment hire and £1,138.38 in stationery costs, with claims as little as 5p and 8p.

Mr Trickett said: “The costs associated with the running of my two offices includes rent for the constituency office, business rates, hire of printer/copier and charges, stationery and cleaning materials, telephone bills, printer ink for the equipment in my parliamentary office and so on.

“General stationery is ordered directly from the House of Commons’ preferred supplier and paid directly to them by IPSA. IT and equipment hire refers to the cost of the printer/photocopier and copy costs in my offices.”

Mr Trickett’s travel costs included 56 separate claims for £81.

He said: “I travel almost every week between Westminster and my home and the items shown equate to the costs of 28 return journeys (56 single). These costs are reimbursed by IPSA.”

Overall, Mr Trickett’s total claim came to £42,768.98 – almost £4,000 less than last year.

Both Selby MP Nigel Adams and Alec Shelbrooke, MP for Elmet and Rothwell, have come under fire for employing family members in their office. They claimed £50,150.87 and £46, 703.32 respectively, while Yvette Cooper, MP for Pontefract and Castleford, claimed £35, 115.01.