Accounts released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) show Tory MP Rob Wilson submitted a claim for nine pence to cover the cost of a 350-yard drive. The Reading East representative made the claim for the short trip down the street to a constituency engagement in March 2014.
MPs are allowed to claim 45 pence for each mile they drive on official business and the claim was pro rata to the distance covered. This claim was one of a total of 160 the MP has submitted that have been for less than £1 in the past five years.
The nine-pence claim was the lowest, but he also put in one for 13 pence to cover a 0.3-mile trip and two 36 pence ones for 0.8-mile journeys. He also claimed 60 pence for using his bicycle to travel to an official engagement.
After short trips to the town’s railway station, Mr Wilson claimed small mileage allowances. He then claimed £18 in parking fees for the day. All these small claims for travel expenses were endorsed by the IPSA. For the fiscal year 2014-2015, the Parliamentary watchdog approved claims to the value of almost £22,000 for Mr Wilson.
Mr Wilson lives in a home valued at £700,000 and he told reporters that he was diligent and spent time visiting constituents. He explained that by using his car he reduced travel time and he was able to cover more ground and see more people.
He noted that most of his official journeys were short, but over the course of a year they added up. He finished off by saying MPs needed to stay in contact with constituents and also that he never claimed accommodation expenses when working in Parliament as he commuted.