MPs' expenses revealed

SIX of the region's MPs claimed more than the average £122,677 allowances and expenses last year, figures released by the House of Commons have revealed.

By Graham Dines

SIX of the region's MPs claimed more than the average £122,677 allowances and expenses last year, figures released by the House of Commons have revealed.

Britain's 659 MPs claimed £80,844,465 in 2004-05, an increase of £2,799,316 on the previous year.

Top claimer in the region was Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP for Essex North, whose total amounted to £139,389. The variance arises out of a £13,710 claim for “other costs,” defined by Parliament as temporary secretarial allowance to cover for sickness or maternity leave, central contributions to office security costs, and exceptional needs support for additional help for MPs whose constituencies have particular problems.


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Next came Tim Yeo (Conservative, Suffolk South) on £132,039, followed by Bob Blizzard (Labour, Waveney) on £130,691.

Lowest claimer was Alan Hurst, who was Labour MP for Braintree during the accounting period and who lost his seat in the General Election last May. He claimed £85,129 while Sir Alan Haselhurst, first Speaker of the House of Commons and Conservative MP for Saffron Walden claimed £104,582.

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Both Sir Alan and third Deputy Speaker Sir Michael Lord (Con, Suffolk Central & Ipswich North) were automatically received a London allowance by virtue of their posts, but this is subject to income tax and National Insurance.

The region's other defeated MP at the election, Labour's Ivan Henderson (Harwich) claimed £126,512.

The figures showed Prime Minister Tony Blair claimed a total of £93,996 - the majority of it going on staff salaries. Conservative Party leader Michael Howard claimed £133,526, while the two contenders to succeed him, David Cameron and David Davis, received £123,454 and £126,685 respectively.

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy's allowances totalled £135,457, and those for Chancellor Gordon Brown £137,328.

MP Nick Harvey, spokesman for the Members' Estimates Committee, said the figures showed the public received “excellent value for money.”

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