MPs expenses: What your MP claimed

WHAT do television units, bunk beds and marigold gloves have in common? They all feature in the latest expense claims of our local MPs.

Yesterday saw the House of Commons publish MPs’ second home expense claims for the whole of 2008/09 and the first quarter of 2009/10.

Allowences by MP

John Butterfill

Tobias Ellwood

Annette Brooke

Robert Syms

Robert Walter

Desmond Swayne

Also published are a breakdown of which property MPs choose to claim on and whether this has changed in the past year. This reveals that Annette Brooke, Chris Chope, Jim Knight, Desmond Swayne and Robert Syms all class their constituency home as their main home, while Sir John Butterfill, Tobias Ellwood and Bob Walter all designate their London property as their main home and claim on their constituency address.

Sir John Butterfill, MP for Bournemouth West, claimed just over £1,000 in the first quarter of 2009/10 but claimed £18,926.49 in 2008/2009.

Claims included thousands of pounds of work on his kitchen and bathroom, (£3,000 of which he has since voluntarily repaid), £500 for a television, £724.50 for decorating a bedroom and £396.75 for supplying and fitting a blind.

He said the bedroom was left damaged by the building work in the bathroom and the television was the first he had claimed for in 26 years.

Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, claimed nothing for the first quarter of the 2009/2010 financial year.

But he claimed £23,573.72 in 2008/2009, all in mortgage interest payments for his Bournemouth home. The sum claimed is just £433 below the maximum amount allowed.

He told the Daily Echo he believes MPs are now going to be a lot more careful about the claims they submit and added: “I’m glad we’re starting to see the transparency that has been long overdue.”

Christchurch MP Christopher Chope claimed £6,693.90 in the first quarter of 2009/10 and a total of £19,933.63 in 2008/2009. The claims included £4,000 for food and £2,491.18 for carpet.

Dorset South MP and employment minister Jim Knight claimed £2,092.50 in the first quarter of 2009/10 and a total of £22,154.74 in 2008/2009.

The claims were mainly for mortgage payments but also included £3,635 for food.

He told the Daily Echo: “Colleagues are being much more careful about how they use public money and how they justify it. Tightening of the rules and transparency is helpful.”

Mid Dorset and North Poole MP Annette Brooke claimed £3,136.51 in the first quarter of 2009/10 and a total of £16,604.98 in 2008/09.

Her 08/09 expenses were mainly for the rent on her London flat, plus some eating out and laundry costs.

She said: “MPs who have bought properties have seen their mortgages decrease whereas my rent has increased a bit. But I feel more comfortable renting, it’s the right thing to do.”

Desmond Swayne, MP for New Forest West, claimed £2,535.72 in the first quarter of 2009/10 and a total of £12,892.01 in 2008/09.

During 2008/09, he regularly claimed for cleaning costs and eating out but said he stopped this as soon as there was an indication it was not appropriate. He also claimed £16.33 for cleaning materials, including a 99p scourer, £1.28 marigold gloves and a £3.65 dustpan and brush set. He said he moved to a smaller flat in August 2008 and no longer hired a cleaner. “I’ve responded to the crisis by drastically changing my habits.”

Robert Syms, Poole MP, claimed £3,588.93 in the first quarter of 2009/10 and a total of £23,999.98 in 2008/09 – just a few pounds shy of the £24,006 limit.

During 08/09, he had a claim for a £359 bunk bed and mattress refused. The letter from the Fees Office said: “Living costs for anyone other than yourself are not permitted under the Additional Costs Allowance.” But he did claim for a £339 LCD TV and a £39.99 microwave.

Bob Walter, MP for North Dorset, did not claim anything in the first quarter of 2009/10 and £20,416.16 in 2008/09.

His expenses in 08/09 included regular claims for gardening and cleaning, which are no longer allowed. He attempted to claim £37.20 under the heading repairs/insurance/security but this was disallowed because he did not provide an invoice. He did, however, claim for a £650 television unit and a £169 hi-fi cabinet.

Mr Walter said he claimed for gardening and furniture because they were allowed under the old rules, adding: “I’ve always stated that we need a system which is outside the control of those who benefit from it.”

Comments (20)

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8:30am Fri 11 Dec 09

nonnogeppetto says...

No one (as yet) publicised what the actual total of the so called illegal/dodgy claims is, however I will bet that whatever system replace the current one is going to cost us the taxpayers three or four times as much. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that anyone should abuse any system regardless of where they stand in society. From what I gather the expenses, from now on, will be managed by an independent body no doubt using a complicated and expensive system and who ever will do it are not likely to employ some poor individual who earns a modest wage but instead use individuals who will charge the earth and we the taxpayers end up paying more than we have been forking out already
No one (as yet) publicised what the actual total of the so called illegal/dodgy claims is, however I will bet that whatever system replace the current one is going to cost us the taxpayers three or four times as much. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that anyone should abuse any system regardless of where they stand in society. From what I gather the expenses, from now on, will be managed by an independent body no doubt using a complicated and expensive system and who ever will do it are not likely to employ some poor individual who earns a modest wage but instead use individuals who will charge the earth and we the taxpayers end up paying more than we have been forking out already nonnogeppetto
  • Score: 0

10:07am Fri 11 Dec 09

rainbowkisses says...

It's a shame Ellwood isn't as transparent when he answers his consituents letters. Instead of giving it the old "politician two step" (blame everybody else, but never answer a simple question) he should be up front and answer questions fully and honestly. All he has made himself look like to me, is another slimy eel who will do anything to stay on the gravy train. I don't mind my MP disagreeing with me, but at least let him tell me he disagrees.
It's a shame Ellwood isn't as transparent when he answers his consituents letters. Instead of giving it the old "politician two step" (blame everybody else, but never answer a simple question) he should be up front and answer questions fully and honestly. All he has made himself look like to me, is another slimy eel who will do anything to stay on the gravy train. I don't mind my MP disagreeing with me, but at least let him tell me he disagrees. rainbowkisses
  • Score: 0

10:21am Fri 11 Dec 09

Gordon Cann says...

Shameful
Shameful Gordon Cann
  • Score: 0

10:31am Fri 11 Dec 09

Gordon Cann says...

Over 4 million people in this country struggling to keep wam and experiencing 'fuel poverty'.
Over 4 million people in this country struggling to keep wam and experiencing 'fuel poverty'. Gordon Cann
  • Score: 0

10:35am Fri 11 Dec 09

John T says...

Interesting to see Poole's MP, Robert Syms (alias Mr Flatpack) now giving a new meaning to the phrase 'trying to do a bunk'!
Appropriate security word in respect of this greedy blighter is 'food-hole'.
Interesting to see Poole's MP, Robert Syms (alias Mr Flatpack) now giving a new meaning to the phrase 'trying to do a bunk'! Appropriate security word in respect of this greedy blighter is 'food-hole'. John T
  • Score: 0

10:35am Fri 11 Dec 09

Gordon Cann says...

2.4 million people unemployed in this country
2.4 million people unemployed in this country Gordon Cann
  • Score: 0

10:39am Fri 11 Dec 09

Gordon Cann says...

11.700 homes repossessed in the third quarter of this year
11.700 homes repossessed in the third quarter of this year Gordon Cann
  • Score: 0

10:46am Fri 11 Dec 09

Gordon Cann says...

Public borrowing at record level of £175 billion
Public borrowing at record level of £175 billion Gordon Cann
  • Score: 0

10:58am Fri 11 Dec 09

John T says...

Anything Gordon Brown can do Gordon Cann Can!
Anything Gordon Brown can do Gordon Cann Can! John T
  • Score: 0

11:14am Fri 11 Dec 09

John T says...

Echo redaction seems to have struck again.

Security word 'lack-case'!
Echo redaction seems to have struck again. Security word 'lack-case'! John T
  • Score: 0

11:36am Fri 11 Dec 09

contric says...

well done sir john butterball for repaying £3000 pounds voluntarily after being such a wonderful mp for bournemouth i am sure you will be a hard act to follow but hopefully we will find someone of similar stature a couple of names spring to mind ronnie biggs or dick turpin as for tobias perhaps if you have the time go to maths lessons why should you miss out on £433 but i am sure it was just an eror on your part knight and chope between youjust over£7500 on food which is worrying you cant afford food and not only are the taxpayers buying it i am organising a collection in my road so we can send you a food parcel for xmas we dont care about the homeless or poor not when there are deserving cases like you but thank you for only claiming things that were within the rules you have set a wonderful example to all of us
well done sir john butterball for repaying £3000 pounds voluntarily after being such a wonderful mp for bournemouth i am sure you will be a hard act to follow but hopefully we will find someone of similar stature a couple of names spring to mind ronnie biggs or dick turpin as for tobias perhaps if you have the time go to maths lessons why should you miss out on £433 but i am sure it was just an eror on your part knight and chope between youjust over£7500 on food which is worrying you cant afford food and not only are the taxpayers buying it i am organising a collection in my road so we can send you a food parcel for xmas we dont care about the homeless or poor not when there are deserving cases like you but thank you for only claiming things that were within the rules you have set a wonderful example to all of us contric
  • Score: 0

11:44am Fri 11 Dec 09

contric says...

rainbowkisses compares ellwood to a slimy eel what has he done for you that you should have such a high oppinion of him
rainbowkisses compares ellwood to a slimy eel what has he done for you that you should have such a high oppinion of him contric
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Fri 11 Dec 09

AKKA says...

Brooke claims £25 for one night away from main home yet also claims £1700+ for rent & CT of 2nd home. Why does she need a 2nd home if she only spends 1 night there? What are hotels for exactly?
Brooke claims £25 for one night away from main home yet also claims £1700+ for rent & CT of 2nd home. Why does she need a 2nd home if she only spends 1 night there? What are hotels for exactly? AKKA
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Fri 11 Dec 09

Invisible says...

We are told Robert Syms MP claimed just a few pounds shy of the £24,006 limit - well bully for him! Visit his Website and we learn that he has written to the Secretary of State on behalf of Poole Marines regarding the state of their accomodation - that is indeed worthy of praise! However the only other item deemed newsworthy, seems to be a feature on 'Parkstone In Bloom.' Recently, the Tories distributed a glossy news sheet featuring Mr Syms in a small selection of 'grip 'n' grin' type photo calls with heads and representatives of various local organisations, but it hardly made for gripping reading!

For the kind of expenses being demanded, are we witnessing any REAL achievement for the town of Poole? This constituent; having sent Mr Syms several e-mails asking pertinent political questions over the last couple of years - the vast majority of which go unanswered or are quite simply ignored, thinks not...
We are told Robert Syms MP claimed just a few pounds shy of the £24,006 limit - well bully for him! Visit his Website and we learn that he has written to the Secretary of State on behalf of Poole Marines regarding the state of their accomodation - that is indeed worthy of praise! However the only other item deemed newsworthy, seems to be a feature on 'Parkstone In Bloom.' Recently, the Tories distributed a glossy news sheet featuring Mr Syms in a small selection of 'grip 'n' grin' type photo calls with heads and representatives of various local organisations, but it hardly made for gripping reading! For the kind of expenses being demanded, are we witnessing any REAL achievement for the town of Poole? This constituent; having sent Mr Syms several e-mails asking pertinent political questions over the last couple of years - the vast majority of which go unanswered or are quite simply ignored, thinks not... Invisible
  • Score: 0

4:46pm Fri 11 Dec 09

bofors says...

AKKA wrote:
Brooke claims £25 for one night away from main home yet also claims £1700+ for rent & CT of 2nd home. Why does she need a 2nd home if she only spends 1 night there? What are hotels for exactly?
Reading these comments was making me think only the tories cheated,now we are getting it right,they are all at it.
[quote][p][bold]AKKA[/bold] wrote: Brooke claims £25 for one night away from main home yet also claims £1700+ for rent & CT of 2nd home. Why does she need a 2nd home if she only spends 1 night there? What are hotels for exactly?[/p][/quote]Reading these comments was making me think only the tories cheated,now we are getting it right,they are all at it. bofors
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Fri 11 Dec 09

sea poole says...

Well, I guess our invisible MP Rt Hon Robert 'Sins' will continue to claim a few quid short of the maximum so he can 'claim' that he is being reasonable.
Is he real or is he a cardboard cut-out. No-one seems to know who the h*ll he is!
Well, I guess our invisible MP Rt Hon Robert 'Sins' will continue to claim a few quid short of the maximum so he can 'claim' that he is being reasonable. Is he real or is he a cardboard cut-out. No-one seems to know who the h*ll he is! sea poole
  • Score: 0

8:09pm Fri 11 Dec 09

richathome says...

Ellwood had my vote last time. He has, though, been sucked into the 'system' and is, as described above, a 'slimey eel'. I have contacted him several times and not once got a satisfactory response. I will not be voting for him at the next election.....and I suggest a 'none of the above' option should be on the ballot paper.

Security word ? 'wife-vote'.....ok, I will vote for who I am told to...but it won't be Ellwood !
Ellwood had my vote last time. He has, though, been sucked into the 'system' and is, as described above, a 'slimey eel'. I have contacted him several times and not once got a satisfactory response. I will not be voting for him at the next election.....and I suggest a 'none of the above' option should be on the ballot paper. Security word ? 'wife-vote'.....ok, I will vote for who I am told to...but it won't be Ellwood ! richathome
  • Score: 0

8:51pm Fri 11 Dec 09

jobsworthwatch says...

How many companies with 600 odd employees (part time too) pay out £10.000.000 in expenses? Its an absolute disgrace; the whole electorate should abstain at the next election!
How many companies with 600 odd employees (part time too) pay out £10.000.000 in expenses? Its an absolute disgrace; the whole electorate should abstain at the next election! jobsworthwatch
  • Score: 0

8:52pm Fri 11 Dec 09

jobsworthwatch says...

How many companies with 600 odd employees (part time too) pay out £10.000.000 in expenses? Its an absolute disgrace; the whole electorate should abstain at the next election!
How many companies with 600 odd employees (part time too) pay out £10.000.000 in expenses? Its an absolute disgrace; the whole electorate should abstain at the next election! jobsworthwatch
  • Score: 0

12:24am Sat 12 Dec 09

Bob49 says...

A simple idea would be for 'volunteers' to stand in each constiuency. I doubt it would be difficult to raise the necessary £500 deposit. The candidate would be not aligned to any party or any other issue. It would allow voters to express their disgust and lack of support for the present lot (all parties) and give disaffected voters are chance to turn out and show that disgust.
We have a vote, let's use it for ourselves for a change.
A simple idea would be for 'volunteers' to stand in each constiuency. I doubt it would be difficult to raise the necessary £500 deposit. The candidate would be not aligned to any party or any other issue. It would allow voters to express their disgust and lack of support for the present lot (all parties) and give disaffected voters are chance to turn out and show that disgust. We have a vote, let's use it for ourselves for a change. Bob49
  • Score: 0

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