MPs expenses claim

MPS in our region say they aim to provide a “first-class” service to constituents after the latest expenses figures were revealed.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, who received a total of £128,302.78 in 2011-12, said he is “determined” to provide the best service possible, while at the same time being mindful of spending taxpayers money.

Meanwhile, Grahame Morris, Labour MP for Easington, who claimed the highest amount in the region said he works “very hard” on behalf of residents and lives “frugally” while on Parliamentary duty in London.

The figures for 2011-12 reveal Mr Wright’s expenses included £12,469.39 for his constituency office and £2,762.60 on travel and subsistence.

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

Mr Wright said: “I am determined, as I always have been, to ensure that I can provide a first-class service to constituents while being mindful of spending taxpayers’ money.

“It has always been my policy to ensure I run a professional and efficient office to allow Hartlepool residents the opportunity for me to make representations on their behalf, while still being mindful of value for money for the public purse.”

Meanwhile, the highest sum in the North-East and North Yorkshire was the £167,487.11 received by Mr Morris.

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

He also received £19,673.63 towards accommodation expenses and £4,336.95 towards travel.

Mr Morris said: “I work very hard on behalf of my constituents and provide an excellent service.

“I don’t claim for subsistence or travel within the constituency.

“My expenses claims are beyond reproach.”

Mr Morris, who said he lives “frugally” in London, claims for travel expenses to and from London and for a one-bedroom flat in the capital, with the rest going on wages and the cost of running a constituency office.

Mr Morris, who said he also pays thousands of pounds out of his own pocket, added: “I pride myself on running a first-class service.”

Labour MP for Sedgefield, Phil Wilson, recieved a total of £162,694.88 which included £17,776 on accommodation and £16,887 on 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.

The majority of the claims were for office and staffing costs.

It comes as watchdogs say the expenses scandal which sent four MPs to jail is now “history”.

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

He added that if people want a good service from MPs then they have to be funded.