Five MPs broke expense rules by renting out their offices and pocketing the profits

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FIVE MPs broke expense rules by sub-letting their offices and pocketing the profit, a damning report has found.

A review by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) found the MPs made a £5,100 profit from the ruse between 2015 and 2017.


Five unnamed MPs broke expense rules by sub-letting their offices and pocketing the profits, a damning report has found[/caption]

They were among 25 MPs who sub-let offices to third parties, which included local small businesses and their local political party staff.

MPs must forward the full market-rate rental income they receive to the expenses watchdog.

But the watchdog warned there was a risk some MPs were subsidising the rental costs of their political party by not charging them enough.

Most damning was the five MPs who kept the money — an average of £1,000 each. None of them were named in the report and it is unknown for how long the scandal has been going on.


The watchdog said it wouldn’t be launching an investigation to find out the scale of the problem.

The five MPs have since repaid the rental income. Ipsa said they were partially to blame for not chasing up the MPs quickly enough.

Separately, an annual survey of MPs found one in four were too embarrassed to submit expense claims last year for fear of the details being published in the media.

Some 24 per cent said they had chosen not to claim for an expense that would have been allowable because of “concern about the claim being published”.

Sir Alistair Graham, former Commissioner for Standards in Public Life, said: “It’s shocking if MPs are claiming rents and sub-letting their offices to someone else.

“They don’t need Ipsa to tell them that – it should be their own public duty which tells them that.

“I’m totally in favour of transparency as far as expenses are concerned and these MPs should be named.

“Both the public and their constituents have a right to know if there have been any misdemeanours when it comes to office costs.”

Duncan Simpson, Research Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Honest mistakes can be made but ten years on from the expenses scandal, taxpayers are still deeply suspicious about where their money is going.

“If MPs are subletting their offices to third parties, then it’s imperative that they follow the rules and hand over any profit back to the taxpayer.

“Transparency of pay and expenses is a vital part of the scrutiny process and IPSA must do all it can to effectively monitor claims made by MPs.”

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