MPs are in danger of being ‘priced out of politics’ by problems with the new parliamentary expenses regime, according to MP Penny Mordaunt.
The Tory Portsmouth North representative said she was left with just £22 over the Christmas period due to a delay in her claim being paid.
Ms Mordaunt says many MPs are being left thousands of pounds out of pocket for months on end due to claims not being paid on time.
Now she is backing calls on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) – set up in the wake of the expenses scandal in 2009 – to make reforms.
Ms Mordaunt said: ‘Although I’m not expecting any sympathy for my own situation, the consequences of this continuing and them not paying me are that suppliers aren’t going to get their bills paid. Secondly, unless you are extremely wealthy, you are going to be priced out of politics.
‘An expense claim was put in in early November to be paid in late November – I received it in the third week of January. I had £22 to live off over the Christmas period.’
Ms Mordaunt spoke out as IPSA yesterday laid bare more than £15,000 worth of wrongful claims made by MPs. House of Commons leader Sir George Young also criticised the expenses watchdog, calling for reforms in the next two months.
Ms Mordaunt added: ‘The problem is that a lot of the way the new expenses system is working is extremely problematic unless you have piles of cash around. IPSA are supposed to reimburse people within 12 working days of them making a claim. Although I can understand them not doing so 100 per cent of the time, some people are having to wait months.
‘The maximum for me was five months and a lot of the time they are averaging two or three months. That might not sound a lot but our expenses cover everything, so we are expected to pay up front for rent, rates, stationery and in some cases salaries. Rather than being out of pocket a few hundred pounds every month some people are out of pocket thousands of pounds.
‘Within a few months of not being paid, people, unless they have very deep pockets, are going to be in trouble.’