Big variation in former MPs’ winding up expenses
Local MPs who retired or were defeated at the last general election claimed between almost �40,000 and just �32 in Commons 'winding up' expenses it was revealed yesterday.The highest claim - for �39,399 - was made by former home secretary and Norwich South MP Charles Clarke, and the lowest by ex-West Suffolk MP Richard Spring who is now Lord Risby.The winding up allowance is payable to defeated or retiring MPs and 'covers the reimbursement of the cost of any work necessary, including staff and office costs, to conclude their parliamentary business'. It includes redundancy payments to staff, and the maximum that could be claimed at the last general election was �42,732.Other claims made by local MPs were: Tony Wright (Great Yarmouth) �29,138; Christopher Fraser (SW Norfolk) �24,531; Bob Blizzard (Waveney) �34,689; Michael Lord (Central Suffolk and Ipswich North) - who is now Lord Framlingham - �31,312; Malcolm Moss (Cambridgeshire NE) �11,117.Lord Risby told the EDP last night that he had needed to claim little winding up money as members of his staff had carried on working for his successor as the MP for West Suffolk, Matt Hancock, and there had been no redundancies.MPs who retire or are voted out also qualify for 'golden goodbye' payments that can amount to more than �50,000. Details for those MPs who left the Commons at the last election have yet to be supplied, but are expected to be published soon.The information provided yesterday covered the final period before the establishment of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which followed the great public outcry over MPs' expenses in 2009.The new figures show that after that storm MPs' second home expenses fell to �6.8m in 2009-10. They were �10.7m the year before.