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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Cumbrian MPs reveal their expenses bills

Details of Cumbria’s MPs’ expenses have been published, showing how much they claim for accommodation and travel.

John Stevenson  photo
John Stevenson

The figures show that Carlisle Conservative MP John Stevenson claimed £39,027.36 – to cover the costs associated with his work as an MP.

Fellow Tory Rory Stewart, for Penrith and the Border, claimed slightly less at £32,676.16.

Workington’s Labour MP Sir Tony Cunningham claimed £24,256.42 and Jamie Reed, Copeland, also Labour, £22,749.97.

South Lakes LibDem MP Tim Farron claimed Cumbria’s highest amount, just ahead of Mr Stevenson at £39,990.96.

Mr Stevenson said he thought it was right that the details were published and added: “I have no problem with it – it’s public money. All it is is travel, accommodation and running a small office.”

He said that he chose to stay at a hotel in London, rather than a flat, because it worked out cheaper – between £150 and £600 per month.

Mr Stewart said that his claims for accommodation, of £875 per month, were about half the maximum allowance under the current rules and that MPs from the north also faced increased costs because of travel expenses. Those in rural areas also incurred additional costs.

“I held six surgeries in a day last weekend and I think we got 10 to a dozen people at each one,” he said. “I am proud of myself because I am working very hard and doing a good job for Cumbria.”

He said it was good move to publish the claims and added: “It’s very important. We should publish them and people should look at them.”

Mr Stewart said that lessons had been learned as a result of the expenses scandal and MPs were not claiming for items such as chocolate bars.

He said: “It was a huge wake up call.

“I think we can begin to regain trust but it’s going to take a long time to do that.

“2008 and 2009 in retrospect was shocking and MPs have got to be careful to prove that they are doing the right thing.

“The key thing is that the money is being spent doing the job and not on irresponsible things.”

Mr Cunningham said his expense claims had always been open to public scrutiny. He said: “That’s the way it should be. One of the false comparisons that they use is that it costs more to travel for people in the north of England than people in the south.”

Sir Tony said that he welcomed the accounts being published online and added: “It was time for an overhaul. I very much welcome the openness and transparency.”

Have your say

Tobias you talk about a 'loop hole' allowing MPs to travel first class.
I presume by 'loophole' you mean an mp doing a bit of searching for and getting a first class ticket for the price of a standard.

This makes me think about your mentality, it is not that you object to the spending on rail, it must be some rather absurd petty malicious repulsion for travelling first class.

What does it matter to you? Rory Stewart is a successful individual that sacrificed a fairly reasonable career to become my MP. Reasonably successfully people like to travel first class on the train. I am barely successful and if i can nab a first class train ticket reasonably cheaply, i will do.

Why should he not do so, just so your sensibilities arent hurt?

Posted by Jim on 18 May 2013 at 00:52

I called into John Stevenson's office with copies of correspondance sent to and received from 10 Downing Street regarding the fact that our grossly unfair judicial system cost me £14,500 between 2004 and 2010. That effectively is what I have to live on for a year. This is made up of legal expenses, loss of earnings whilst attending court hearings, travel expenses, photocopying paperwork to prove my innocence after my ex wife got an injunction slapped on me, fines for motoring offences which are hard to disprove etc. I have heard nothing from the MP he passed the paperwork If I get at least half of this money back, John Stevenson is gauranteed my vote in the future. WATCH THIS SPACE!

Posted by Stemax1960 on 17 May 2013 at 08:50

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