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Latest MPs expenses: who claimed what
NEW expense figures reveal South Dorset MP Richard Drax is the lowest claimant in Dorset with £4,279.90.
It comes after The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has released figures for the period May to September 2010.
Top claimant in Dorset was Lib Dem MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, Annette Brooke, who claimed £14,527.86.
She defended the amount, saying the figures did not tell the whole story, as she had a low claim in the previous quarter and was owed a backlog of money from earlier in the year.
Mrs Brooke said she had also spent cash on a number of one-offs after being re-elected, including new computer software and an annual insurance policy.
She said: "I've always been a relatively low claimant. It's important to realise there was a backlog.
"You have to look over the whole period and I run a busy office. We do clock up expenses in the service that we give, but we try to be as efficient as possible."
The lowest claimant was South Dorset's Richard Drax, with £4,279.90 and West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin claimed slightly more with £4,772.57.
Mr Drax said: “I am claiming for the minimum amount – purely for staff and journey time which is perfectly legal and above board.
“But I must say publishing MP’s expenses must come with a warning – they do not give a true picture of what is happening.”
He added: “For me personally publishing these figures is not a problem but some of my colleagues have genuine concern.
“When you put figures on a piece of paper it can give a very grossly unfair picture.”
Mr Drax said that the hoped the media wouldn’t continue to pursue MP’s expenses with the same intensity.
“I totally accept that we are to be completely above board, “ he said. “But to go on and on will continue to undermine the Government.”
Mr Letwin said that the scrutiny is to ‘be expected’ and added: “Publishing these figures is inevitable I am not naïve enough to think this won’t be the future.
“But this kind of scrutiny has its advantages – I now spend a lot of time worrying about every single paperclip and that can only be a good thing in this climate.”
Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns claimed £4,981.32, while Tobias Ellwood, member for Bournemouth East, claimed £8,591.70.
Poole's Robert Syms claimed £12,880.06 and Bob Walter, for North Dorset, claimed £7,389.58. Mr Walter was the only Dorset or New Forest MP to have a claim rejected by IPSA - £15.44 for a water bill.
Christchurch MP Christopher Chope claimed £8,101.07, while New Forest West member Desmond Swayne claimed £5,526.27.
Mr Swayne said: "I am trying to keep mine as low as possible. I could make them even lower but it is about services to my constituents.
"For some time there has been a competitive element. Publication is the best disinfectant."
He added: "There has got to be a maturity about the way we report things. I for one would back a league table of expenses and then if MPs have got a reason for high expenses then they can say.
"Obviously they have to be looked at on an individual basis - some MPs may incur more travel based expenses because their constituencies are bigger."
Yesterday, leader of the Commons Sir George Young said the new system was failing. Labour has also called for ‘fundamental reform’.
TOTAL CLAIMS FOR MAY TO SEPTEMBER 2010
Annette Brooke (Lib Dem, Mid Dorset and North Poole) £14,527.86
Robert Syms (Con, Poole) £12,880.06
Tobias Ellwood (Con, Bournemouth East) £8,591.70
Christopher Chope (Con, Christchurch) £8,101.07
Bob Walter (Con,North Dorset) £7,389.58
Desmond Swayne (Con, New Forest West) £5,526.27
Conor Burns (Con, Bournemouth West) £4,981.32
Oliver Letwin (Con, West Dorset) £4,772.57
Richard Drax (Con, South Dorset) £4,279.90
BREAKDOWN OF CLAIMS FOR MAY - SEPTEMBER 2010 ONLY
OLIVER LETWIN (Con- West Dorset) £4,772.57 Constituency rental £366.04 Constituency phone £118.22 General admin £2,408.75 Mobile £138.63 Mobile hire £219.15 Professional services(staff) £1,345.98 Train tickets £175.80
RICHARD DRAX (Con -Dorset South) £4,279.90 Staff £3,877.50 Rail £402.40
To read more about MP's expenses in Dorset visit our special expenses section
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