defends £164k expenses which were 'higher than Prime Minister's'
MP has this week defended her expense claims after media reports
that she spent more than the Prime Minister over the past year.
Munt filed claims worth £164,862.07 in the 2011-12 financial
year, which were £45,000 more than David Cameron according
to information published this week by the Independent Parliamentary
Standards Authority (IPSA).
Tessa told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "To compare me - or the 547
other MPs who cost more than the Prime Minister - with David Cameron
is unrealistic. He lives in Number 10 Downing Street and is not
obliged to ask taxpayers for funds to cover the costs of his accommodation
there. He claimed expenses of £299 for travel and subsistence
this year, but most of his journeys will have been made in a ministerial
car, not his own vehicle."
of Tessa's expenses were spent on running her constituency office
and more than £30,000 went on her parliamentary costs of
accommodation and travel.
added: "The UK Parliament has an expenses system which allows
MPs like me to reclaim the costs of travel and subsistence needed
to do my job, in common with every other private and public sector
business in this country."
received £9,678 in expenses during the year from April 2011
to March 2012 to reimburse my travel costs. Wells covers a very
rural area of 174 different communities and I have held well over
300 surgeries in local towns and villages since 2010. Naturally,
my travel costs will be higher than those for an MP in a town
or urban area."
run a very busy office, with an average of 1,000 pieces of correspondence
each week. I am very grateful that the taxpayer covers the costs
of renting my local office, the electricity, gas and telephone
bills, the salaries for my team of three full-time and two part-time
staff, and the small flat I rented last year in London. The £155,184
this costs is not paid to me, but is attributable to my role as
the Wells MP. This represents less than £1.00 a year from
each person in my patch, and I work hard to ensure each taxpayer
gets value for money."
added: "Although I am entitled to claim some of my meals
when I am working, I choose not to do so. I do not own any property.
I am not independently wealthy and I have no other income, so
I need to use the financial help available to MPs to do my job.
I believe it is important that this help is available so ordinary
people like me can consider being an MP - if this was not the
case, the House of Commons would return to being the preserve
of just the rich, the well-connected and the powerful, who might
not be in touch with what worries the less privileged."
publish details of all gifts on my website [here],
not just those worth more than £645 as the rules require.
Anyone without access to a computer is welcome to call my office
on 01934 710748 and a paper copy of that list will be sent to
them by post. I believe all MPs should declare everything they
receive from every source, as the current lack of transparency
could risk undeclared influence, and a potential for corruption."
made five pledges to the electorate in 2010. These were not to
have any other paid employment, not to profit from being your
MP, only to claim work-related expenses, not to employ family
members and continue to live here in Mid Somerset my family
home. I haven't, I don't, I do, I won't, I do!"
continue to love the work I do, and am happy to try to help as
many people as possible. If anyone has any queries about this
or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me."