Brent North MP demands public apology after he is wrongly named and shamed on expenses scandal list
PUBLISHED: 13:10 11 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:30 11 September 2015
Brent North MP Barry Gardiner has accused parliament's spending watchdog of falsifying records, incompetence and lies over an 18-month period after he was 'named and shamed' yesterday on a list of MPs owing money from wrongly claimed expenses.
The Labour politician has written a furious letter to the parliamentary expenses watchdog IPSA demanding a public apology for publishing details of a £77.30 travel claim that Mr Gardiner says was in fact incurred by an assistant in another MP’s office in March last year.
IPSA has confirmed it has now resolved the debt but has yet to issue an apology for Mr Gardiner’s inclusion on the list.
Mr Gardiner said: “They have had absolute chapter and verse on this from my office for over a year and haven’t responded to four attempts to contact them, three times by letter and once by phone- it’s just so incompetent.
“People will look at this and say ‘oh yes it’s those MPs at it again’ but if they weren’t a public body I would be suing them. For them to say that I ticked a box claiming for this journey is to falsify- it’s absolutely wrong.”
The MP also branded claims made by IPSA Chief Executive Marcial Boo in a Sky News interview that the 25 MPs listed had been contacted at least four times a “lie.”
Mr Gardiner, who has held the Brent North seat since 1997, said: “I now make sure assistants in my office sent an email summarizing what has been said to IPSA after each phone call with them.
“I just don’t trust them- they will deny telephone calls took place when they did.
“This is not just an administrative error- this is firstly incompetence and secondly lying.”
To view a copy of Mr Gardiner’s letter to the Chief Executive of IPSA Marcial Boo click here.
A spokeswoman for IPSA said: ““We can confirm that the MP has since provided further information to IPSA, allowing us to resolve the debt. It is therefore no longer written off.”