Wearside and Durham MPs’ expenses claims are revealed

SIBLING RIVALRY ... David Miliband's failed bid to be Labour leader is back in the news again.
SIBLING RIVALRY ... David Miliband's failed bid to be Labour leader is back in the news again.
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WEARSIDE and Durham MPs claimed more than £37,000 in expenses in the first two months of the year.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has released details of all MPs expenses for January and February.

The eight who represent Wearside and eastern part of County Durham claimed £37,662 between them, including for rent, office costs and travel.

The cheapest was former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who represents Whitburn as part of his South Shields seat.

Mr Miliband, a non-executive director of Sunderland AFC, claimed £800.16 for council tax, utility bills, £157-worth of stationery, and a £73 train ticket.

Easington MP Grahame Morris had the highest bill for the two-month period, claiming £8,581.37, including £880 in car mileage and £1,450 in accommodation rent.

The figure was boosted by purchasing two desktop computers and two laptop computers, for £4,000, for office use.

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson claimed £5,504, with claims for mileage, £495 office rent, office costs and £1,450 for her second home.

She said: “It is essential that my constituents have a proactive and vocal Member of Parliament, to represent them both in Parliament and in the constituency.

“As I have said previously, this has financial costs, particularly in relation to having a busy constituency office.

“However, I shall continue to try and keep these costs to a minimum, but at the same time giving my constituents the service which they deserve.”

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott claimed £3,946 on admin costs, rail travel, mileage as well as the £1,100 rent on second accommodation.

Ms Elliott has been critical of IPSA and the system in the past, and said she still has concerns.

“ISPA has improved slightly with some recent changes it introduced, however, in my view, there is still a long way to go and it is not yet fit for purpose”

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson’s expenses bill was £6,839.37.

It included £1,475 accommodation rent, £95 for office furniture and a number of small “hospitality” claims of around £1 for milk for her constituency office.

North Durham MP Kevan Jones, who represents Chester-le-Street, Pelton, Lumley and Bournmoor, claimed £5,758.48.

That included vehicle mileage, parking, rail travel and food and drink, plus £1,365 accommodation rent.

City of Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods claimed £3,764 for mileage, stationary, ground rent, service charges and hospitality.

Stephen Hepburn, who represents the Boldons as part of his Jarrow constituency, claimed £2,467.58 for council tax, utility bills, home contents insurance and £837 office rent.

WHAT THEY CLAIMED IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY

Grahame Morris, Easington: £8,581.37

Sharon Hodgson, Washington and Sunderland West: £6,839.37

Bridget Phillipson, Houghton and Sunderland South: £5,504.53

Kevan Jones, North Durham: £5,758.48

Roberta Blackman-Woods, City of Durham: £3,764.18

Julie Elliott, Sunderland Central, £3,946.90

Stephen Hepburn, Jarrow, £2,467.58

David Miliband, South Shields, £800.16