Sir Alan Beith comes clean on laundry expenses
As 10 MPs today vie to be elected the next Speaker of the Commons, political editor William Green takes a look at the only North East candidate’s expenses, the rest of the runners and riders and the process itself.
THE North MP who wants to clear up British politics has charged taxpayers thousands of pounds for cleaning his second home and laundry.
Berwick's Sir Alan Beith has put himself forward to become the new Commons Speaker and MPs will elect the position next week.
The Journal can now reveal that the Liberal Democrat MP claimed £7,115 for the cost of cleaning his London home between 2004-05 and 2007-08.
He spent more than £1,700 on cleaning annually, according to details of his expense claims released by the Commons.
And the senior Lib Dem spent £1,086.30 on laundry over the same period. His annual bills were between £240.50 and £325.80, according to his expense claims.
The documents also show Sir Alan charged a new £349.99 television to taxpayers, along with £775 for kitchen equipment and £4,700.65 for a refurbishment of his kitchen.
He also claimed for a television licence in August and September 2007, but repaid the money as soon as he realised his mistake.
Sir Alan's office expenses also appear to show he paid his own regional party £3,000 a year in support of Parliamentary duties.
Another £2,544.91 invoice from the Parliamentary Office of the Liberal Democrats (POLD), dated January 25 2006, set out the bill for support for Sir Alan.
There was £312.05 for pagers, £186.98 for "away days", £374.13 in constituency management support, £429.31 for a daily digest, IT support costing £161.29 and £1,081.15 in research briefings.
Due to sections being blacked out, it is unclear whether the full amount was paid – although the figure of 1,039.60 was circled in the corner of the document.
But Sir Alan was charged £80 for two adverts about constituency surgeries in Lib Dem publications in March 2005.