Sunday People


Luxury rail bills footed by taxpayer

- EXCLUSIVE BY MIKEY SMITH Whitehall Correspond­ent

Luxury-loving politician­s claimed £63,000 of firstclass train tickets on expenses in two months.

Taxpayers footed the bill for top-flight journeys made by 115 MPS, figures from watchdog IPSA show.

Tory Anne Marie Morris claimed the most back with £2,842 for 11 first-class trips between her constituen­cy in Newton Abbot, South Devon, and London. Each ticket averaged more than £285 – while standard fares for the journey can be £55 to £75 when bought in advance.

SNP MP Martyn Day claimed for the dearest single ticket – £385.17 for a journey to the capital from Falkirk. Labour’s Sharon Hodgson took the most first-class trips with 21, totalling £2,281, between London and Newcastle.

And Tory Philip Davies claimed for 18 journeys from Shipley, West Yorks, costing £1,417. He charged taxpayers up to £144.17 for a single first-class trip when standard seats can cost £30.

Typical first-class perks include comfier seats, free cuppas and biscuits and even hot meals. The figures cover claims filed last October and November but the trips may have been made in a different period.

IPSA gives details of all claims by MPS under transparen­cy rules set up after the 2009 expenses scandal.

But at least nine MPS and staff said the issuing of claims data should stop, while others moaned “the publicatio­n of first-class train tickets was... unnecessar­y”, IPSA said. The report added that some MPS were livid over guidance in December on what they could claim for during the festive period.

IPSA said it led to “negative media attention and public dissatisfa­ction”.

A spokesman for Mr Day said: “All travel is booked through the Parliament­ary Travel Office in accordance with IPSA guidelines.”

Ms Morris, Ms Hodgson and Mr Davies were contacted for comment.

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