Former Wealden MP challenges expenses watchdog on outstanding £87 debt claims

Former Wealden MP Charles Hendry pictured in 2012
Former Wealden MP Charles Hendry pictured in 2012

Former Wealden MP Charles Hendry has challenged claims he owes almost £90 to Parliament’s expenses watchdog.

Mr Hendry stepped down in May 2015 after representing the area for 14 years, but the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) says he is yet to repay £87.60 claimed for a hotel in the London area.

This was ‘deemed not payable’ because it is not allowed under the watchdog’s rules.

But Mr Hendry challenged IPSA on Twitter saying the last email he had from the watchdog in June stated he had ‘no outstanding debts’ and he was seeking ‘urgent clarification’.

IPSA is proposing to write off this debt and others from 2014/15 totalling £2,105.43 owed by 26 politicians.

It claims it would not be cost-effective to pursue the debts’ recovery as all the amounts are for less than £500.

According to IPSA all the MPs and former MPs have been contacted several times about the outstanding sums.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) is demanding the sums be paid back ‘immediately’.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TPA, said: “If sitting MPs are unwilling to pay what is due, the simple solution would be for the amount to be docked from their next salary payment.

“Those former MPs who have been named and shamed should also do the honourable thing and pay up - and if they are unwilling to do so, then the obvious sanction would be to remove the parliamentary pass they enjoy as a former member until such as time as their debts to the taxpayer are paid up.”

Marcial Boo, chief executive of IPSA, added: “As the regulator of the public funds that go to MPs, IPSA ensures that taxpayers’ money is used transparently, and that MPs are appropriately resourced to carry out their parliamentary functions.

“Our regular publications include every single penny claimed by MPs, so that taxpayers and voters can see for themselves how their money is spent and gain assurance that IPSA is scrutinising MPs’ expenditure on their behalf.”

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