POLITICS

Jim McGovern MP Appeals £23.90 Expenses Claim, Costs Taxpayer £27,000

15/04/2013 10:00 BST

The taxpayer has been saddled with a £27,000 legal bill after Labour MP Jim McGovern decided to appeal a decision to deny him the right to claim a £23.90 train journey on his parliamentary expenses.

In 2011 the Dundee West MP took a train from his constituency to a Labour Party meeting in Glasgow before then catching a flight to Westminister.

According to the Sunday Herald, The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) rejected his claim for the first part of the trip, arguing it was not part of his official parliamentary duties.

However McGovern appealed the decision, insisting that the expenses rules did not require MPs to take the most direct route from their constituency to parliament in London.

Ipsa won the case as the first leg of McGovern's trip was not "wholly, exclusively and necessarily” part of his role as an MP.

The expenses watchdog has revealed its bill for fighting McGovern's appeal was £27,000 - which will have to be picked up by the taxpayer.

SNP MSP Mark McDonald has said McGovern should reimburse the taxpayer for the legal costs.

"At a time when many households are struggling to make ends meet it is unbelievable that Mr McGovern has run-up this enormous bill," he said.

"It shows how some MPs have learned absolutely nothing from the expenses scandal, which has done so much reputational damage to Westminster.

"Mr McGovern should now reimburse these legal costs himself, to ensure that the taxpayer does not pick up the five-figure bill as a result of his attendance at a Labour party event."