Third of London MPs too scared to claim travel costs


Almost a third of London MPs don’t claim travel or food expenses despite being eligible to do so, LondonlovesBusiness.com can reveal.

The hangover left from the expenses scandal is so savage that 24 of the capital’s 73 elected representatives don’t dare claim for mileage, underground fares or meals even though they could.

MP for Ilford Lee Scott is one of those who used to claim for travel but no longer does so. He puts it down to the headache of the new system, implemented after the expenses scandal.

“It’s not worth it,” he says. “Having to fill out for every single last journey you make, to fill in every single item was taking me literally hours. It became more trouble than its worth.

“I don’t have the time, and I imagine it’s the same for the others.”

As it stands, MPs can claim travel costs incurred by travel between their constituency and Westminster, and travel around the constituency for both themselves and their staff.

Food and drink (subsistence) covers the costs of overnight stays away from the constituency or London on parliamentary business or the cost of a meal when parliament is sitting late.

There’s great disparity between the degrees to which MPs claim for travel and subsistence. For the year 2010/2011, MP for Harrow East Bob Blackman managed to rack up a bill just under £4,000.

Blackman’s claim is 989 times larger than the smallest claim of £4.00 made by Sarah Teather, MP for Brent Central – and infinitely bigger than the zero costs incurred by the one in three London MPs who claimed nothing.

From our research, the days of lavish meals and taxis seem to be well and truly over. A breakdown of MPs’ expenses show it’s more likely to be daily congestion charges, mileage and hire cars piling up the cost for the public purse than private jets.

For a handful of London MPs, not claiming is nothing new. Glenda Jackson, Emily Thornberry and Nick Raynsford didn’t claim for their travel or subsistence in 2008/2009 nor for 2010/2101 (see chart).

Does your MP charge?

MP Constituency 2010/211 2008/2009
John Randall Uxbridge & South Ruislip £0.00 £3,196
Lee Scott Ilford North £0.00 £3,812
Theresa Villiers Chipping Barnet £0.00 £2,826
Vincent Cable Twickenham £0.00 £2,740
Sir Malcolm Rifkind Kensington £0.00 £2,566
Mike Gapes Ilford South £0.00 £2,513
John McDonnell Hayes and Harlington £0.00 £2,360
James Brokenshire Old Bexley and Sidcup £0.00 £2,253
Nick Hurd Ruislip Northwood & Pinner £0.00 £2,154
Jon Cruddas Dagenham and Rainham £0.00 £1,744
Jeremy Corbyn Islington North £0.00 £934
Lyn Brown West Ham £0.00 £474
Lynne Featherstone Hornsey and Wood Green £0.00 £458
Sadiq Khan Tooting £0.00 £442
Diane Abbott Hackney North and Stoke £0.00 £234
Glenda Jackson Hampstead and Kilburn £0.00 £0.00
Emily Thornberry Islington South and Finsbury £0.00 £0.00
Nick Raynsford Greenwich and Woolwich £0.00 £0.00
John Cryer Leyton and Wanstead £0.00 N/A
Teresa Pearce Erith and Thamesmead £0.00 N/A
Heidi Alexander Lewisham East £0.00 N/A
Jane Ellison Battersea £0.00 N/A
Rushanara Ali Bethnal Green and Bow  £0.00 N/A
Zac Goldsmith Richmond Park £0.00 N/A


Biggest claimers for travel and subsistence

Bob Blackman Harrow East £3,975.97
Barry Gardiner Brent North £2,617.50
Stephen Timms East Ham £2,102.01
Stephen Pound Ealing North £1,902.30
Jo Johnson Orpington £1,604.07
David Lammy Tottenham £1,595.09
Mark Field Cities of London & Westminster £1,561.00
Mike Gapes Ilford South £1,512.15
David Evennett Bexleyheath and Crayford £1,341.60
Richard Ottaway Croydon South £1,278.20
Andrew Slaughter Hammersmith £1,150.75