Thousands spent on admin

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CRAIG Whittaker MP spent £85,000 on staff, £17,000 on accommodation and £3,279 on travel during his first 10 months in office.

In addition, he claimed £4,271 for renting his constituency office in Brighouse and £13,600 for administrative support.

Mr Whittaker won the Calder Valley seat for the Conservatives last May and promised to be up front when he campaigned as a candidate during the height of the Parliamentary expenses scandal.

“I want to be open, honest and transparent - every claim had a receipt supplied by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority,” he said.

The expenses scheme is very different to the old and is designed to prevent any MP making any “personal gain”.

Mr Whittaker says he has dealt with 24,000 emails, 9,600 letters and 4,800 telephone calls since May.

He has visited more than 50 businesses, 20 schools, 50 charities and voluntary groups and held 70 surgeries.

New MPs are no longer allowed to buy a house and claim their mortgage interest payments and existing MPs can only do so for two years.

“I lease an apartment in the East End of London and I have included the hotel costs incurred prior to taking that on in June,” said Mr Whittaker.

Halifax Labour MP Linda Riordan, who owns a flat, claimed £7,527 to cover her mortgage, electricity, council tax and ground rent up to the end of December.

She claimed £1,650 for travel, £7,737 for renting her constituency office at Shaw Lodge Mills, Halifax, and £3,526 for general administration in 2010/11.

In addition, she claimed the full staffing allowance of £109,500 which is available to every MP.

More details are available on www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk.