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Expense claims of pounds 822k for MPs.

SIX Teesside MPs claimed more than pounds 822,000 between them in expenses last year.

The list of parliamentary allowances for 2011-12 shows that on Teesside, Stockton North Labour MP Alex Cunningham tops the table with a pounds 150,596 claim, including pounds 17,259 for accommodation and pounds 5,760 for travel.

The biggest accommodation claim, for pounds 20,058, came from Redcar Lib Dem MP Ian Swales, with his pounds 140,314 total including pounds 4,709 for travel.

Conservative Stockton South MP James Wharton claimed pounds 138,183, including pounds 19,486 for accommodation and pounds 5,459 on travel, while Middlesbrough Labour MP Sir Stuart Bell claimed pounds 134,597, with pounds 19,096 for accommodation and pounds 8,345 for travel.

The lowest Teesside claims came from Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop, whose pounds 130,209 included pounds 8,500 on accommodation and pounds 1,401.80 on travel. And coming in sixth is Hartlepool Labour MP Ian Wright, who claimed pounds 128,302 but just pounds 2,762 on travel and nothing on accommodation.

Nationally, the bill went up by a quarter to nearly pounds 90m, with politicians spending the money on second homes, staff, travel and office costs - including dozens of iPads.

But the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority insisted the rate of claims had remained "stable", with 99% within the rules.

And although the total outlay for 2010-11 had been just pounds 71m, that was misleading because of the impact of the general election.


ON TOP: MP Alex Cunningham, left, claimed pounds 150k in expenses last year
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 7, 2012
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