Brit MPs accused of prolonging Commons debate to claim £130

New expenses rules allow MPs to claim £130 by extending the debate past 1 am.

Updated: Jul 11, 2010, 12:55 PM IST

London: British MPs are taking advantage of new expenses rules by extending the debate past 1 am in a bid to claim up to GBP 130 in overnight hotel allowances, it has been alleged.

According to David Morris, the Conservative MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, the expenses of keeping the Commons open so late - including the hotel claims, security and staffing - would amount to over GBP 200,000.

"These activities waste taxpayers money and undermine public confidence in the political system. There was absolutely no justification for these Opposition MPs to drag this debate out beyond 2 am," The Telegraph quoted him, as saying.

Under the new system, if a Commons debate prolongs past 11 pm, all 650 members may claim up to GBP 80 for the cost of a taxi home.

If it stretches past 1 am, MPs are allowed to claim the cost of an overnight hotel stay at up to GBP 130 even if they live in London and claim the cost of maintaining a second home. The potential cost of the post-1 am claims is GBP 84,500.

Mark Wallace, campaign director of the TaxPayers` Alliance, said: "MPs still have it in their power to change the sitting hours of the House if they wish.”

"At best, the Finance Bill debate was an unedifying display of what happens when politicians and subsidised alcohol come together. At worst, MPs may have been trying to exploit the new rules on expenses by prolonging the debate.”

"Taxpayers expect Parliament to be about service to the electorate, not about some sort of 1 am club of members seeking to maximise their expenses."