MP Penny Mordaunt has racked up one of the biggest bills for expenses in parliament, with claims totalling more than £180,000 in just one year.
The Portsmouth North MP billed the taxpayer £186,977.70 to cover office, travel and accommodation costs, with the bulk – £144,340.42 – going on paying wages to her seven members of staff.
Penny needs to be reminded of when she was very strident in calling for MPs to be held to account regarding expense claims before becoming an MP.Councillor John Ferrett, Portsmouth Labour group leader
That makes it the tenth highest expense claims for the 2014/2015 year out of all the UK’s 650 MPs – with DUP MP Jim Shannon coming top of the pile with costs of £205,798.23.
Now concerns have been raised over why Ms Mordaunt – also the armed forces minister – has spent and claimed back so much and is employing so many staff.
Portsmouth Labour group leader Councillor John Ferrett, who stood against Ms Mordaunt in the general election for Portsmouth North, said: ‘The question has to be asked, why is she claiming so much more money than others who are performing the same job?
‘As a trade unionist, I am all for paying people the appropriate rate for the job.
‘But as an elected councillor and a prospective parliamentary candidate, I am also for making sure taxpayers are not being overcharged.
‘Penny needs to be reminded of when she was very strident in calling for MPs to be held to account regarding expense claims, before becoming an MP. Penny needs to do what she said she would do before the election, and help cut down on expense claims made by MPs.’
Ms Mordaunt claimed more than any other MP locally, with former Havant MP David Willetts – who stepped down at this year’s general election – coming next with claims of £154,142.14.
A total of £122,953 of that went on staff costs, including wages for two full-time employees and five hired on a ‘casual basis’.
Next were former Fareham MP Mark Hoban, with £147,278, Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery, with £146,655.94, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, with £141,976 and former Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock with £130,756.17.
The annual figures were released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, the expenses watchdog.
Expense reports have yet to be published for new MPs Alan Mak, Suella Fernandes and Flick Drummond, though Ipsa said their claims should be released in November.
Ms Mordaunt was yesterday unavailable for comment. But her senior parliamentary assistant said staffing costs were higher in 2014/2015 than the previous year as an employee had to be paid while on maternity leave and someone else was taken on.
It comes after Ms Dinenage hit out at a report naming her on a list of 26 MPs with unpaid expenses, calling her inclusion ‘complete nonsense’.