An investigation by CitiBlog into the expenses claimed by Milton Keynes’ two Conservative MPs has revealed a huge variation in their claims.
It reveals that one of the MPs has claimed more than twice as much as the other for the accommodation costs over the last five years.
During the 2012-2013 financial year, Milton Keynes North MP Mark Lancaster claimed more than £19,000 for accommodation costs alone. This is almost three times as much as Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart claimed in the same year and almost the maximum permissible claim of £20,000.
However, Mr Lancaster owns his home in Milton Keynes and has historically rented shared accommodation in London where prices are higher whilst Mr Stewart does the reverse – he rents in Milton Keynes where rental prices are much lower than central London.
All taxpayer funded expenses claims by MPs are listed on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority website.
They show that Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart has claimed just under £15,000 in travel expenses since he was elected in 2010, while Milton Keynes North MP Mark Lancaster has claimed more than £22,000 since he was re-elected in 2010.
Part of the explanation could be that Iain Stewart’s constituency is just under 31 square miles, while Mark Lancaster’s is 88 square miles – although the average constituency is 147 square miles.
He said: “In mileage I have a large rural part to my constituency and so do more miles.
“It was exactly the same in our Labour predecessors Brian White’s and Phyliss Starkey’s time.”
However, the variation in the expenses claimed for accommodation by the two MPs are even more dramatic.
Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart has claimed just over £30,000 in accommodation expenses since he was elected in 2010 but Milton Keynes North MP Mark Lancaster has claimed more than twice as much, with total accommodation expenses of more than £65,000.
It is also important to note Mr Lancaster was one of the few MPs in the last Parliament to have been given a clean bill of health with regards to the Sir Thomas Legg inquiry into Parliamentary expenses.