MPs’ expenses claims decrease

THE area s MPs claimed more than £14,000 travelling expenses between them in 2005/06, new figures released by the House of Commons reveal. But that was little more than half the £27,750-plus total claimed the previous year. The House authorities had argue

THE area's MPs claimed more than £14,000 travelling expenses between them in 2005/06, new figures released by the House of Commons reveal.

But that was little more than half the £27,750-plus total claimed the previous year.

The House authorities had argued that the figures should remain confidential for data protection reasons, but their decision was overturned by the Information Commissioner.

They show that Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon and Shadow Solicitor General, claimed £2,589 for using his car, £1,693 for rail travel and £888 for other public transport fares - he has a home in London and uses buses and the Underground to get to and from the Palace of Westminster - a total of £5,170. Mr Djanogly said he had stopped driving in London three years ago.


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The figures also reveal he used his car about 25 per cent less than the previous year, when the mileage rate was nearly 50 per cent higher than the 40p MPs can now claim - the amount HM Revenue & Customs says is the average cost of driving.

Andrew Lansley, who represents South Cambridgeshire and is Shadow Health Secretary, also reduced the number of miles he claimed for, and his rail fare bill reduced, too, slashing his total travel claim from £6,545 in 2004/05 to £4,090 in 2005/06.

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North West Cambridgeshire's new MP, Shailesh Vara, who is now also Shadow Deputy Leader of the House, racked up a total of £5,057 (£4,336 for his car and £721 on the trains), a figure that was dwarfed by his predecessor, (then) Sir Brian Mawhinney's claim the previous year.

Sir Brian, now Lord Mawhinney, did £11,061-worth of driving on Parliamentary business, along with spending £700 in air fares and a tad less than £200 on trains - a surprisingly low figure for a former Transport Secretary. His claim totalled almost £12,000.

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