Chesterfield MP defends expenses after figures reveal he claimed more than £3,500 on first class train tickets

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins claimed more than £3,500 on first class train travel last year, new figures reveal.

Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 2:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th February 2022, 8:49 am

Stats from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority show Mr Perkins claimed the highest amount for first class tickets of all MPs in the East Midlands.

The Chesterfield Labour MP made 27 claims for first class tickets totalling £3,649 between March 2020 and March 2021, comprising 25 claims for his own travel and two for travel by staff.

By comparison, Mark Fletcher, Tory MP for Bolsover, claimed a total of £633 for first class travel last year, while Nigel Mills, the member for Amber Valley, claimed just £568.

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Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins claimed the highest amount for first class train tickets of all MPs in the East Midlands, new figures have revealed

Mr Perkins, who has served as MP since 2010, said buying first class train tickets were often cheaper than open standard fares and allowed him privacy to deal with sensitive work while travelling.

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He said: “I consider the four hours that I spend on the train most weeks to be predominantly work time. Given that my work involves a lot of confidential and personal information it is not really possible to work in the same way if someone is sat next to me which happens much more often in standard class.

“First class tickets are sometimes cheaper and IPSA rules say that MPs can never spend more on a ticket than a standard class anytime return so all the tickets I have bought are cheaper than standard class.

“I would also say that comparisons with other Derbyshire MPs are imperfect because some of them don’t predominantly live in Derbyshire, some may drive rather than use the train and some use Derby station which is cheaper than a train to Chesterfield.”

Danielle Boxall, media campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "Taxpayers expect politicians to keep their feet on the ground.

"If MPs can get organised to order a first class ticket in advance, they should usually be able to get standard class cheaper.

"Most people are happy to travel standard class and these tickets are almost always better value for money."

A spokesperson for IPSA added: “MPs can claim the cost of travel on parliamentary business, however the claims cannot exceed the cost of a standard class ticket on the day of purchase. First-class tickets are permitted if these conditions are met.”

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