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Mon, 28 September 2020

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Hundreds of MPs had parliamentary credit cards suspended for breaking expenses rules

Hundreds of MPs had parliamentary credit cards suspended for breaking expenses rules
2 min read

Nearly 400 MPs including nine Cabinet ministers and Jeremy Corbyn have had their official credit cards suspended for breaking rules on expenses, it has been revealed.


An investigation by the Telegraph a decade years on from its original investigation into MPs’ expenses, found there have been 1,114 suspensions of MPs’ parliamentary credit cards since the 2015 election. 

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd had her card suspended five times, while Tory backbencher Damian Collins, Brexit minister James Cleverly and Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith are also among the repeat offenders who have been rapped more than ten times.

Cabinet ministers including Stephen Barclay, Greg Clark, Chris Grayling, Rory Stewart, Jeremy Wright and David Mundell have also been blocked from using their cards by spending watchdog the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Energy minister Claire Perry even used her official credit card to pay for her Amazon Prime subscription, accordiing to the paper.

And DUP MP Ian Paisley also racked up debts of £1,193 and had his credit card suspended while repaying it.

In the Labour camp, party leader Jeremy Corbyn was revealed to have his card suspended twice, while Shadow Cabinet ministers Rebecca Long-Bailey, Richard Burgon, Diane Abbott and deputy leader Tom Watson were found to also fall foul of expenses rules. 

Parliamentary credit cards were introduced in the wake of the 2009 scandal, and can be suspended for failure to provide receipts within 30 days, for incorrect spending or for failing to repay taxpayers' money owed for ineligible claims. 

Sir Alistair Graham, the former standards committee chairman told the Telegraph: “It shows there is either something fundamentally wrong with the system, or we’ve got a bunch of highly incompetent slovenly MPs who can’t keep to the rules. 

“The rest of the nation would only expect to have to comply in similar circumstances.”

Ruth Evans, IPSA chair, said: “Ten years ago, the difficulty of having politicians self-regulate their pay and expenses became all too clear.

“It led to the establishment of Ipsa. Since then, Ipsa has established a clear set of rules for MPs to follow and enforced them fairly. The openness and transparency of Ipsa has become a model for legislatures worldwide."

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