DAVENTRY’S former MP has defended claiming expenses to the tune of £42,708 for closing his office after last year’s General Election.
Tim Boswell, who represented Daventry for 23 years, said none of the money went into his pocket and pointed out the amount is within the entitled £42,732 MPs are allowed to claim for staff salaries and office costs if they are leaving Parliament.
Critics have questioned why the expenses payments were necessary given that many of the MPs had announced they were leaving the Commons several years earlier. In total more than 200 MPs claimed £6.8 million after May’s election.
Lord Boswell, who now sits in the House of Lords, said: “I would like to point out that none of that money went into my pockets, with the exception of a few pounds for stationery and mail.
“A lot of the money went on providing an office for four months after the election when I didn’t physically have an office but still had work to do. The other major part of the claim was for staff redundancies. Two staff members in my office had worked there for all the years I was MP for Daventry and so had a fair pay out.
“The office I now have as a member of the House of Lords is completely different and so it’s not a case of closing down one office and opening another next door. I now just have a desk and a phone but no office or secretary.”
Ken Ritchie, who was Lord Boswell’s Labour opponent in 1997 before spending 13 years as chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said he was “surprised” by the claim.
He added: “We can’t object to his staff being treated fairly when their jobs came to an end, but he should have had few other costs. It is not as if he suddenly found himself out of office, he had planned his retirement years in advance and would have known that he would have no need of an office beyond May.”