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Member of Parliament expenses

My kitchen in London

My kitchen in London

Voluntary publication of parliamentary expenses october 2009

Ever since I was first elected in 2001 I have been aware of how fortunate I have been in being able to do a job I find thoroughly fulfilling and the financial support of the Additional Costs Allowance to be able to do that job without the trials of commuting 240 miles a day.

My small flat gives me the opportunity to be completely flexible during the week and to concentrate in the evenings on the work in hand, without one eye on the railway timetable. The House of Commons regularly sits until 10:30 at night and it occasionally goes on until 1:00 in the morning or later. Arriving at my flat by 11pm and being able to get a proper night's sleep enables me to be at my desk in the Commons by 8am the next morning ready to face a busy day which will include meetings, speeches, and dealing with letters and e-mails.

I realise that to have this flexibility provided by the taxpayer is a privilege and I have always borne that in mind when deciding what was legitimate to claim. The system, devised many years before I entered Parliament, was intended to help MPs to maximise their productive time in Westminster but sadly the system has been proved to be flawed in its administration and open to abuse.

It is disappointing that some MPs have taken the allowance for granted and treated it as an additional source of income. The Members' Code of Conduct states that members must ensure that claims do not give rise to, or give the appearance of giving rise to, an improper personal financial benefit to themselves. This is why I rent a flat and have not used tax payer's money to purchase a property from which I will personally gain when sold.

In light of all the current controversies I have decided to put copies of my claims for 'my away from home expenses' on my website for your inspection. I am starting from April 2009. (Please note that all MPs' claims from the past 4 years will be made available by the House of Commons later this year and you can see the total amounts that I claimed over the last 4 years on my website via Annette in Parliament.)

As an MP without another job or income and who lives some distance from London I do need to stay overnight in London. I rent a very small flat in Dolphin Square, London. You will see what I claim over the year - the rent, the council tax, electricity, a subsistence allowance and perhaps money for essential maintenance if that occurs. In the financial year 2007/2008, I claimed a total of £16322.67 but according to the 'they work for you' website I was paid £16285.00. I am including a few photos of the inside of my flat - my kitchen, which is 1.2 metres by 2 metres, and my bedroom.

I am now adding details of my actual claims going back over the last 4 years starting with 2007/8.

My accommodation expenses receipt. To view more closely just click on the document. [old] Personal additional accommodation expenditure ( PAAE ) 2007/2008 Voluntary Publication of Parliamentary Expenses