by Joel Beaumont
Local MP Greg Mulholland has been declared the most expensive politician in the country.
Figures from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) show during the 2011/12 term the Liberal Democrat claimed expenses of over £185,000 to cover the cost of his office and payroll. Combined with his Parliamentary salary Mr Mulholland cost the taxpayer over £250,000 last year.
Expenses paid for the running costs of his constituency surgery in Holt Park were £20,000. The Leeds North West MP also had expenses of just over £30,000 for travel and accommodation.
Whilst all of Mr Mulholland’s expenses have been approved by the IPSA, the body created in the wake of the expenses scandal to keep MP’s spending in check, his large expenses are shocking compared to some of the other MP’s representing the people of Leeds.
Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central claimed over £11,000 for travel and accommodation expenses whilst Leeds East MP George Mudie only claimed £7,000.
Mr Mulholland also claimed nearly £10,000 in expenses for staffing costs in stark contrast to Mr Benn who claimed £65.
In response to the findings the large expenses were put down to unexpected circumstances. Mr Mulholland said:
“I had to employ temporary staff to cover the posts whilst permanent employees were absent through illness. The additional cost arising from this difficult situation was just over £30,000, without which my expenditure would have been ranked 90th and below several other Yorkshire MP’s.”
Mr Mulholland has claimed over £7,500 in expenses since the 2012/13 term of Parliament opened in May.