‘Expenses scandal 
is history’

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WATCHDOGS say the expenses scandal is “history” after revealing the latest figures claimed by MPs.

An independent authority set up to police the system said the claims, the majority of which were for office and staffing costs, proved the system had been cleaned up since the exposes that sent four MPs to jail.

Figures for 2011-12 reveal Hartlepool’s Labour MP Iain Wright received a total of £128,302.78 which included £12,469.39 for his constituency office and £2,762.60 on travel and subsistence.

Mr Wright did not claim anything towards accommodation but did claim £1,126.83 towards general administration and the total payroll was £111,370.68.

The highest sum in the North East and North Yorkshire was the £167,487.11 received by Grahame Morris, Labour MP for Easington.

That included £16,809.12 towards his constituency office, £3,229.71 on general admin and the payroll was £123,346.68.

Mr Morris also received £19,673.63 towards accommodation expenses and £4,336.95 towards travel and subsistence.

Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, received a total of £150,596.11 including £17,259.11 towards accommodation and £5,760.55 towards travel and subsistence.

Nationally, the total expenses bill was £89m, down from £98m in 2009-10, before strict regulations were introduced.

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) chair Sir Ian Kennedy said: “We have overhauled the system and the expenses scandal is clearly history.

“MPs are keeping to the rules.”

Sir Ian added “If we want a good service from our MPs, we have to fund them.”