MP claims a 9p trip on expenses

MP claims a 9p trip on expenses

By Michael Upton | 05/08/2020

MP claims a 9p trip on expenses

 

MP ALEXANDER Stafford was accused of riding the “gravy train” after claiming expenses of just 9p for a journey of less than a mile.

The Tory MP for Rother Valley made seven mileage claims of less than £1 within the first four months of being elected.

He also claimed £97 for a rail ticket for his wife Natalie from their former home in London to the constituency.

Campaigner Michael Sylvester, of Thrybergh, said: “The thing with Alex Stafford is he pushes his green credentials and one of the worst things for the environment are short car journeys”.

He added: “The 9p would be the equivalent of me driving to Thrybergh Parish Hall from my house.”

Former Labour councillor Emma Wallis tweeted: “Well I never!

“Didn’t take Alex Stafford, the shiny new Tory MP for Rother Valley, long to clamber aboard the gravy train did it?”

Figures obtained from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority show Mr Stafford, as well as travelling to and from Westminster, claimed for more than 30 journeys in his constituency of less than ten miles, including three of less than a mile.

At a rate of just under 49p a mile, the shortest journey Mr Stafford claimed for comes to about 300 metres.

But Mr Stafford said the 9p journey was “part of a longer journey but broken into three parts”.

He added: “This three-part journey involved a constituency home surgery, picking up several files of constituent casework, and a visit to a local business to discuss how change in legislation will affect them.

“It is important that all the work that I do as an MP is open and transparent, which is why all my travel to meetings is automatically recorded from my calendar without input from me.”

Mr Stafford said one of his aims was to improve the “woeful” public transport in his constituency.

Of the his wife’s rail journey, he said: “I love my wife and daughter dearly, and as Rother Valley is now my home so should it be theirs.

“No family should be forced by distance to be separated.

“When Parliament is sitting, my family and I are in Westminster, and, when it is not, we are in Rother Valley."

Mr Stafford’s total expenses claims for the period from election night last December to the end of March amounted to £4,184.93.

Labour MP John Healey claimed £63,491.13 in 2019/20, with office costs and rent of up to £1,887 a month.

His smallest expenses include several for milk, at just 80p, but the Advertiser understand this is not just for staff use but also for advice surgeries and other meetings at his Wentworth & Dearne constituency office in Wath. Only two travel claims of less than £5 were made.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, also Labour, claimed £49,018.43 in rent, staffing and other costs during 2019/20, with monthly rent of £1,811 accounting for the biggest claims.

Her office filed five claims of less than £2, including two of £1 each for staff travel and two of £1.85 and £1.45 to Facebook.

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