by Stephen Tall on October 26, 2007
I can’t find it in myself to get overly excited by the annual publication of MPs’ allowances, detailing who spent what on rail fares and stationery. It is, of course, right both that the information should be collected, and right it should be published.
But there are two opposing ways of looking at the figures. Is an MP who spends least therefore ‘best value’ or are they not being assiduous enough in their job? Is an MP who spends most therefore ‘extravagant’, or are they simply ensuring the best quality of service to their constituents (and treating their staff decently)? It’s a moot point, and best left to their constituents to determine at election time.
It is also a given that MPs who represent those constituencies furthest from Westminster, and which are most sprawling, are more likely to rack up the highest travel allowances.
All of these caveats mean the figures should be treated with sceptical caution. Still, if you’re interested in finding out more about how much Lib Dem MPs spent and how they compare in their spending, read on…
Office running costs – Highest: Danny Alexander (£35k), Lowest: Ming Campbell (£15k)
Staffing costs – Highest: Dan Rogerson (£94k), Lowest: John Thurso (£68k)
Car costs – Highest: Roger Williams (£7k), Lowest: David Howarth and Susan Kramer (£0)
Rail – Highest: Tim Farron (£12k), Lowest: six MPs (£0)
Air – Highest: Alistair Carmichael (£25k), Lowest: 29 MPs (£0)
Centrally purchased stationery – Highest: Tim Farron (£6k), Lowest: Alistair Carmichael (£354)
Stationery: associated postage costs – Highest: Tim Farron (£17k), Lowest: David Howarth (£735)
Staff cover and other costs – Highest: Norman Lamb (£12k), Lowest: 55 MPs (£0)
Total allowances claimed – Highest: Tim Farron (£172k), Lowest: David Howarth (£99k)
You can download an Excel spreadsheet of the full figures here.