Named & shamedMPs claim energy expenses on their second homes
BRISTOL MPs have been named and shamed for claiming expenses for energy bills at their second homes.
The worst offender in our area was Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy, who claimed £625.26 for electricity.
Next was Filton & Bradley Stoke Tory MP Jack Lopresti who claimed £366.68 for electricity and gas.
Third was Kingswood Conservative MP Chris Skidmore with £260.14 for gas.
Following him was Thornbury & Yate Liberal Democrat MP Steve Webb with £172.59 for electricity and gas, while Bristol North West Tory Charlotte Leslie claimed £120.06 for the same utilities.
Bristol South Labour MP Dawn Primarolo claimed £98.14 for electricity and finally Liberal Democrat Bristol West MP Stephen Williams claimed £29.88 for electricity.
Neither North Somerset Tory MP Dr Liam Fox nor fellow Conservative Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose made a claim for energy.
MPs earn a basic salary of £66,396.
They are also allowed to claim expenses to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, having somewhere to live in London and in their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency.
In total, 340 MPs claimed money towards their energy bills at their second home. The remaining 310 MPs, although entitled to, did not claim.
The worst offender was Stratford- on-Avon Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, who claimed £5,822 in the 12-month period to heat his £1 million constituency home.
Ms McCarthy told the Bristol Post that she believed claiming for energy was fair.
She said MPs pay all the bills for their first home and having the costs of the second home was the equivalent of them staying in a hotel.
But she did express surprise at the size of her claim.
"That seems like quite a lot because I don't even heat my London home," she said.
But she conceded: "I can see that when people are struggling to pay their own bill they see someone getting something paid for them and think it's unfair. I suppose it comes down to whether you think MPs need a second home to do their job."
Tory Ms Leslie said she agreed that the claims "looked appalling from the public's point of view".
"I raided all my personal savings to become an MP and when I became one I was broke," she said.
"I don't like claiming and if I don't have to I don't. If I had loads of money I wouldn't claim anything.
"It looks awful but if you start as an MP broke it's a necessity to do the job. I only claim when I absolutely have to and I hate it.
"I don't claim for evening meals, mileage and very rarely for trips to and from the station, all of which I am entitled to but I don't because I think it's wrong.
"It is £120 but that's £120 too much and I know it looks appalling from the public's point of view."
All MPs were contacted in an effort to get a comment. Mr Penrose declined to comment.
Dave Prentis, of UNISON, told the Sunday Mirror: "It's disgraceful that well-paid MPs should make these claims as thousands of families are struggling to pay to turn the oven on to cook dinner."