MP Julie Hilling defends claiming £430 to cover energy bills at her second home in London
BOLTON West MP Julie Hilling has defended claiming more than £400 on energy bills for her second home in London.
Ms Hilling claimed £431.90 on electricity and heating for her flat in London between April 2012 and March 2013.
David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, and Yasmin Qureshi, who represents Bolton South East, claimed nothing.
Ms Hilling said: “I pay all my bills in the home where I live in my constituency.
“As part of the necessity to stay in London, MPs are entitled to claim for accommodation in London – and that’s what I’m doing.
“If people want ordinary people to be MPs, then they need to know that’s what will happen.
“If they only want rich people to be MPs, then they can stop people having to claim.”
The figures were revealed in documents from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which took over regulating MP claims in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal.
MPs are legitimately allowed to claim up to £20,100 a year to run a second home in the capital, which includes rent, hotel stays, council tax, phone and internet as well as energy bills.
But Cllr Andy Morgan, deputy leader of Bolton Council’s Conservative group, said MPs needed to “come and live in the real world” alongside ordinary people who are struggling to pay their electricity bills.
He added: “It seems more than a little hypocritical that on one hand Julie and her party are criticising the Government for not freezing fuel bills but then with the other hand using taxpayers’ money to subsidise their own.”
MP David Crausby said that while he has a second home in London, he has made a choice not to submit expenses for his energy bills.
He said: “I don’t claim for heating, and I don’t claim for food. I think MPs have to be very careful what they claim for following the expenses scandal.
“Julie is right to say MPs are entitled to claim – they are allowed to. I just don’t choose to claim.
“I have been an MP much longer, I’m in different circumstances and I don’t judge anybody on this.”
MP Yasmin Qureshi said she did not claim anything for energy bills because she does not have a second home in London.
She added: “I haven’t claimed any expenses on my gas and electricity bills because when I am in London I stay with family in Watford.”
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