By Lucy Ashton
There is a widespread public perception that MPs in particular and politicians in general make an awful lot of money.
However, it has been revealed that “loadsamoney” Scottish MPs had their corporate credit cards suspended almost 200 times in just three years.
The Westminster expenses watchdog says that more than half of Westminster’s MPs have been sanctioned.
More than 50 Scottish MPs had their IPSA expenses cards suspended between 2015 and 2018, with the Nationalists topping the list of suspensions.
Angela Crawley, the MP Lanark and Hamilton East, was the worst offender with 14 suspensions, followed by Stewart Hosie with 10 and Joanna Cherry and Natalie McGarry both with nine.
IPSA provides MPs procurement cards, which can be used for any business costs allowed under the expenses scheme. If an MP has an outstanding balance, not paid within 30 days, this is treated as a debt to IPSA and the card is suspended.
The parliamentary expenses watchdog can also suspend cards for serious or repeated breaches, including the misuse of the card for personal or non-parliamentary spending and repeated breaches of card conditions
The figures were highlighted by the Guido Fawkes website, after IPSA revealed that more than half of Westminster MPs – 344 – have had their cards suspended sine 2019.
However, the public body refused to name and shame the individual MPs, pointing to the murder of Sir David Amess and the “psychological distress” suffered by MPs whose expenses are highlighted in the media.
Guido Fawkes said: “The decision not to name MPs is made more confusing when taken in the context of previous publications – between 2015 and 2018 they were all too happy to share the information.”
Other high-profile Scottish MPs on the list between 2015 and 2018 included the SNP’s current Commons deputy Mhairi Black, current Holyrood constitution secretary Angus Robertson, Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray and current Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross.
IPSA also said it did not suspend cards between April-June 2020 to allow MPs to buy additional equipment to move quickly to home working during the pandemic.
In the comments below the Guido Fawkes story, Andrew Smith asked: “Why have MPs got corporate credit cards. Recipe for disaster. I refused to allow them in business.”
Tory MPs Chloe Smith and Damian Collins topped the list of suspensions with 14, followed by Andrew Rosindell and current foreign secretary James Cleverly with 13 alongside the DUP’s Jim Shannon.
Setting the anti SNP spin aide it looks like the corporate credit card suspensions are commonplace across the political divide.
That two English Tory MOs had the the highest rate of suspension tells you that. But yes, the SNP at Westminster appear to be as bad as the rest of them.
Settling down into the Westminster way as opposed to settling up seems to be the way.
Expenses have always been a big thing in politics and journalism. Journalists always looked on their expenses, drinks, fags and dinners, as part of their wages until the auditors moved in and put the foot down, much to the delight of the newspaper managers. The same thing has been happening in politics in recent times. However, to have a clampdown on expenses you must first of all have auditors. Where are the SNP auditors? I think we should be told as a great deal of public money is involved here.