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Why Sir Bob claimed £5 in cycle expenses
SIR Bob Russell claimed £5 on expenses for bicycle mileage, to cover a work experience girl’s travel. The intern made four return journeys between Mile End and the Colchester MP’s constituency office in Wimpole Road – 3.3 miles each way.
Under expenses rules, MPs can claim 20p per mile on a bike.
Sir Bob said: “It was for a young intern who very generously gave her time freely and claimed a cycle allowance, which I authorised.
“It is a lot cheaper than if she had taken the bus, so she saved the public money.
“The Colchester resident was working for my constituents and the least I could do is pay her cycle mileage.
“Interns benefit from work experience in a busy office and I and my constituents benefit from the work they do, financially too.”
The intern worked at Sir Bob’s office in October and November last year.
MPs can claim 40p per mile for travel by car or 24p by motorcycle.
Guidelines for MPs state they “should always have regard to whether any particular journey is necessary and to the most cost-effective way to undertake it”.
Sir Bob said: “I think all political parties want to encourage more sustainable forms of transport.
“I don’t claim mileage for when I travel between home and work.
“While I do have a car, I use public transport in Colchester, travelling to London, and within London where possible.
“Anyone who knows me knows I also do a fair amount of walking.”
Councillors in Colchester and Tendring are also able to make the cycle claim, but so far never have.
Witham and Stanway MP Priti Patel had the highest claim in the period, collecting £1,278 in various car fuel, hire and taxi charges.
The taxi journeys were made when she had injured her arm in crash.
Douglas Carswell, MP for Clacton, claimed £255 in car expenses and Maldon’s MP John Whittingdale claimed £10 for a congestion charge payment.
As well as the cycle claims, Sir Bob claimed £26.80 in bus fares and a £10 congestion charge fee.
MPs can claim expenses at a later date or all in one go.