Tuesday 19 May 2009

MPs Expenses - West Ham's Guilty Secret

The MPs expenses scandal rumbles on, but things seem strangely quiet on this front back home in Newham in east London, where I live.

Which is very strange. For how is it remotely possible that one of Newham’s three Labour MPs, Lyn Brown, claimed £15,889 in second home allowances in 2007-2008, whilst the other two claimed absolutely nothing?

Fifteen grand. A massive contrast with many other east London MPs. Those representing Walthamstow, Hackney North & Stoke Newington, Hackney South & Shoreditch, Bethnal Green & Bow, Barking, Greenwich & Woolwich, Chingford & Woodford Green and Ilford North all claimed nothing for second homes.

So what's so different about the constituency of West Ham? Does Lyn Brown not like it here?

Indeed, how can a second home allowance possibly be justified for an MP representing a constituency in Oystercard zone 3, just 8 miles from Westminster, when the Labour MPs for Hove (53 miles from Westminster) and Reading West (44 miles from Westminster) managed to make it into Parliament regularly and yet, like Lyn Brown's parliamentary colleagues in Newham, also claimed precisely nothing in second home allowances?

There has been nothing about this in the local rag, the Newham Recorder. Why the silence?

Others who must be named and shamed: Harry Cohen (Leyton & Wanstead) - £23,083 and Mike Gapes (Ilford South) - £22,291. As close to the maximum as they could get.

And they wonder why people are angry...

MPs expenses for 2007-2008 are available online on the BBC News website.


weggis said...

What do you make of this?


weggis said...

Oh btw Mike Gapes is Ilford South.

Kevin said...

Weggis, have corrected the constituency error.

As for the statement, the figures speak for themselves. The Additional Costs Allowance (cost of staying away from main home/ACA) is paid to reimburse Members for "necessary costs incurred when staying overnight away from their main home for the purpose of performing parliamentary duties." Gapes received £22,291 in 2007/08, and more than £106K in the last five years.

Additional source: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/mike_gapes/ilford_south

I Gapes hasn't claimed this for a mortgage, that's a lot of hotel rooms...

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