MPs’ expense claims included £250 chair

St Helens MP Dave Watts
St Helens MP Dave Watts
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St Helens’ MPs have racked up almost £30,000 in expenses during the past year on items including payments hotels, an office chair and staff training.

Dave Watts, MP for St Helens North, had the largest outlay, claiming £17,526.50, while Shaun Woodward, who represents the St Helens South constituency, claimed £11,114.35.

Some of the biggest outlays were in the cost of running constituency offices, with Mr Watts spending £8,529 and Mr Woodward running up a bill of £5,050.

Both Labour MPs run offices from Century House in St Helens town centre.

Mr Watts’ bill including claiming more than £6,000 in rent, £419 on legal expenses and £696 on stationary.

Mr Woodward, meanwhile, spent £168 on water for his office and £249 on an office chair. He also spent just over £1,000 a new laptop computer, £683 on phone line rental and bills. He also claimed just over £1,000 on hotels in London and almost £3,000 on rail tickets.

Mr Watts insisted his expenses were kept to a minimum but vented his continued frustration at the fascination with MPs expenses.

“To be perfectly honest, I’m a bit fed up with the whole thing,” he said. “My expense claims are very moderate. I think my constituents will see that I have acted in a reasonable way.”

Mr Woodward added: “All my expenses claims including staffing and office costs relating to my work as St Helens MP are published online by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which is an independent body created to independently oversee and regulate MPs’ business costs and expenses.”