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Suffolk: MP defends claiming more than £27,000 expenses

PUBLISHED: 09:03 04 February 2011

Therese Coffey

Therese Coffey

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SUFFOLK: Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey still has the highest expenses claims in the county according to figures published today by the House of Commons.

Dr Coffey claimed just over £27,000 in expenses during her first six months as an MP.

Most of the county’s other parliamentary representatives claimed between £12,000 and £17,000 – but Ipswich MP Ben Gummer claimed the princely sum of just £884.

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley claimed £4,480, but he was unwell for much of the period covered.

The figures were released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Agency (IPSA) and cover the period from the general election in early May to the end of October last year.

They include figures that were first released by IPSA in November.

Dr Coffey said her expenses claimed high figures because she had invested in new computer systems when setting up her parliamentary office, and had also subscribed to pooled office facilities with other MPs.

And she accepted her expenses were always likely to be higher than some of her colleagues because of the nature of her seat and the fact that her principal residence was in Suffolk.

She said: “My claims are likely to be higher because my main residence is in the constituency and I claim rent for my flat in London.

“My constituency is large and I drive a large number of miles around it – all of these factors mean my claims are likely to be larger than some others.”

Mr Gummer said he still had not submitted many of his claims – but they would be dealt with by the House of Commons very soon.

The expenses that have been paid out are mainly travel between Ipswich and London – with many of his trips on “off-peak” trains rather than full-price tickets.

He said: “I am in the process of submitting more claims. I have held off to allow the system to get up and running properly over the last few months.”

n Are MPs’ expenses fair? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, IP4 1AN or you can send an
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