A Fylde coast MP today defended his expense claims after it emerged some politicians are claiming thousands of pounds from the taxpayer to pay their energy bills.
More than half of MPs claim expenses to help heat their second homes and two Fylde coast MPs claimed upwards of £1,000 last year.
According to a national newspaper report, Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, claimed £1,204.61 for the year up to March, while Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden claimed £1,149.88.
The largest amount claimed came close to £6,000 while 310 MPs, including Eric Ollerenshaw, who represents Fleetwood, claimed nothing.
But Mr Marsden today defended his expenses claim, which is lower than the average annual dual fuel energy bill – covering gas and electric – of £1,315.
He said: “All of these claims are made under the existing rules, which have been in place for 20 or 30 years.
“They are all independently set up by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) as reimbursement for the additional expenditure that MPs have to incur in terms of a second property.”
Mr Marsden said his claims followed the rules set up by IPSA and his expenses are available for the public to see.
He added: “I have always tried to keep it low.”
Paul Maynard was unavailable for comment but it is understood his claim covers the cost of gas and electricity for around a two-year period for a small Blackpool flat that he uses when he returns to the constituency from Thursday to Monday and when Parliament is in recess.
MP for Fylde Mark Menzies claimed £434.72 and Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre and Preston North, received £139.24 towards the cost of heating his second home.
The Gazette contacted each of the region’s MPs but the others were unavailable for comment.
Rules allow for claims to heat MPs’ second homes
According to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, most MPs outside London need two residences to conduct their parliamentary duties at Westminster and in their constituency.
IPSA funds the costs of one of them – and specifically includes utilities bills.
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “It is IPSA’s rules which we adhere to.”
While some northern MPs did not claim to heat a second home, many who did not claim live too close to Westminster to have one.