MPs' expenses claims revealed

The taxpayer forked out £4,000 in a year to keep John Prescott fed, it was disclosed today as more details were published of senior MPs’ expenses.

A more detailed breakdown of claims, released after the Commons decided not to fight a freedom of information order, also disclosed that Tony Blair clawed back the £116 cost of his TV licence.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, while Chancellor, racked up a £2,380 cleaning bill while the public purse also paid £21,293 towards Tory leader David Cameron’s mortgage in one year.

There is no suggestion that any of the claims were in breach of rules, but they will put the Westminster expenses scheme back under intense scrutiny.

Freedom of information campaigner Heather Brooke, whose FOI request, alongside another from the BBC, secured today’s data, welcomed the decision but said taxpayers deserved to know more.

Ms Brooke said, “I welcome the disclosure although the way it’s been handled has been a complete farce and a waste of taxpayers’ money. The fact that they are still fighting through the High Court to keep secret the detailed claims and receipts shows how much importance they place in that. It’s only when you analyse the detailed claims that the truth can fully be seen.”

She said MPs’ addresses should be disclosed as some of the “second homes” the allowances were spent on were not lived in by the MPs but bought as investments.

Expenses claims of party leaders revealed (Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2008)

Prescott’s £4,000 food expenses claim (, 5 April 2008)

Comment: A peek behind the door (The Guardian, 5 April 2008)

Leading article: Privacy? Yes. Secrecy? No (The Independent on Sunday, 6 April 2008)