Caroline Lucas is Brighton and Hove’s costliest MP according to a Government Watchdog. Independent Parliamentary Standards Association (IPSA) data shows she claimed £174,555 in expenses in 2015-16 over £40K more than Hove MP Peter Kyle
To be fair to MP Lucas, MP Kyle didn’t take up his job until after the May General Election so even allowing for Start-Up expenses his monthly costs are higher.
The IPSA was set up due to the 2009 Parliamentary Expenses Scandal . MPs now have to disclose details of even the smallest claims which the IPSA publishes on their user-friendly website. Simon Kirby’s East Brighton and Peacehaven constituents can see his office April gas bill was only £1.36 and in May , Caroline Lucas spent £2.64 on bin-bags.
In 2015, of 605 MPs Caroline Lucas is 156th most expensive, MP Kirby 416th and Peter Kyle 532nd. Due to travel, Scottish and Northern Irish MP’s tend to rack up more expenses . The DUP’s Jim Shannon is the UK’s highest claiming Member at £245,931 . The cheapest by far is Kettering Tory Philip Hollobone who spent less than £9k, employs no staff and always travels 2nd class.
I emailed MP Hollobone to ask how he managed this. He replied within 20 minutes and said that as I wasn’t his constituent he didn’t have to tell me. An impressive response time for a one man operation
With the introduction of the IPSA came new rules. MPs outside London can no-longer use their second home allowance to buy a property in London. Travel outside their usual constituency-to-Westminster route has been limited and receipts are required for all claims. New rules and transparency may prevent another duck house scandal but since 2009 , despite austerity, our representatives have found new ways to spend our money. Their expenses have risen 61% from £70 million to over £113 million.