MPs in plea for expenses clarity

MP Gordon Marsden
MP Gordon Marsden
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FYLDE coast MPs today called for more clarity in the system that reveals their expenses claims.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has revealed the latest batch of claims made by the area’s local MPs.

And while MPs have praised the concept of transparency, they have criticised the way the system has been set up.

Rejected

The IPSA website shows Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden and Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre, as having had travel claims ‘rejected’ – even though both of which were then paid.

Mr Marsden’s £101.90 claim for a flight from Gatwick to Manchester was not originally paid because the wrong invoice was sent, and he said: “The invoice went in and it was paid.

“Transparency is very important, but it’s also very important that the full facts are stated. The transparency needs to be transparent.”

Mr Wallace said his claim – £16 for a taxi home from Lancaster Station after 11pm – was initially rejected because he had not provided evidence to show no buses were running.

He said: “It was not rejected. The system doesn’t differentiate between ‘require more information’ and ‘turned down’.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard also saw an £11 taxi journey rejected, a decision he accepts because the receipt was wrongly dated.

But he also believes clearer explanations for rejection should be given.

“It’s a frustration with the system where they publish rejected expenses, but not always why,” he said.

“It’s only right and proper people should be able to see what it is I’m claiming for, we just have to make sure the right information is given out that doesn’t give a misleading impression.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies and Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw both saw all their claims approved, but they also think the system could be improved.

Mr Menzies said: “I am very pleased the current expenses system is completely open and anyone who wishes to query any of my claims is easily able to do so.

Confusing

“I would say, however, that the new system needs a fair amount of work. It can be both confusing and time consuming.”

And Mr Ollerenshaw added: “It seems to me a very expensive system – it costs £6m to run and is so complicated.”