Huntingdon MP defends decision to claim for megaphone hire

Mr Djanogly leads the Hinchingbrooke Hospital march.

Mr Djanogly leads the Hinchingbrooke Hospital march. - Credit: Archant

The MP for Huntingdon, Jonathan Djanogly, has been criticised for an expenses claim which saw him hire a megaphone at a cost of £45 to taxpayers.

The megaphone was used by Mr Djanogly and others at a march in April last year, calling for plans to merge Hinchingbrooke Hospital with Peterborough Hospital to be stopped.

But the claim has been met with condemnation by local Labour Party members, with one calling it “weird”.

Labour activist David Landon Cole said: “It just seems very strange to claim £45 for a megaphone when you can buy a cheap one for £10, and you could buy a better one for £25 – it just seems weird that he has spent £45,” said Mr Landon Cole.

“It isn’t good value for money but in the grand scheme of this it isn’t a great deal of money.”

The event saw hundreds of people march from Riverside Park, in Huntingdon, to the hospital.

After the claim was brought to light in an article in the Sunday Mirror, Mr Djanogly said that the hire of the mega-phone had been pre-approved.

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“The Sunday Mirror story was misleading. If their journalists had asked me, I would have told them that IPSA [the parliamentary standards authority] had pre-approved the cost of hiring the megaphone,” said Mr Djanogly

“There is an office costs budget to help me advocate on behalf of my constituents and if I wish to do that by post, hiring public halls, online or megaphone, that is up to me.

“On the substantive issue of me advocating at the demonstration on behalf of retaining services at our local hospital. I find it bizarre that the local Labour Party should attack me on this issue. I know how upset they were that I, not they, organised the march.

“But it’s a shame that they can’t recognise the real community achievement of our having saved the maternity and A&E wards at Hinchingbrooke.

“I would imagine that most of my constituents would see good value in that.”