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Taxi trips and business-class flights among Essex MPs' expenses
8:20am Friday 26th October 2012 in News
TAXI trips from London to Southend and business-class flights to Austria are among the expenses claims of south Essex’s MPs.
Detailed analysis carried out by the Echo has uncovered some of the lavish claims, totalling thousands of pounds, which have been billed to the taxpayer over the last 18 months.
But our investigation has also laid bare the sharp contrasts between the county’s Tory MPs and what they choose to charge to expenses, with the gap between some of them as much as £18,000.
He argued the taxis were necessary because he had stayed in the capital for late-night sittings in the House of Commons, and it was cheaper to pay for a journey home than a hotel room in London.
The last c2c train service from Fenchurch Street to Shoebury leaves at 12.25am on weekdays, while the London Underground routes which serve it do not stop until well after 1am.
Mr Duddridge said: “Most days I commute into London. Since the 2010 general election, I have stayed in a hotel when I have working late and needed to be back in first thing in the morning.
“Normally on these days, I would be working beyond 10.30pm and return to work at 7.30am.
“If I do not need to be in London quite as early, I have occasionally used a cab service, which works out cheaper than a hotel.”
Mr Baron was visting the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is based in the city, although it is not know which British airport he flew from.
Mr Baron was not available for comment.
Out of the six Conservative MPs representing south Essex, only three - Mr Duddridge, Mr Baron and David Amess, the Southend West MP - claimed substantial travel expenses.
Mr Amess has hit the headlines this week for renting out his London second home while charging taxpayers £1,570 a month to stay elsewhere in the capital.
Despite staying in hotels and now renting a flat, he claimed back £2,100 in mileage expenses for driving to and from Westminster, as well as £514 in congestion zone charges.
The remaining MPs were relatively frugal. Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) recouped £413, including a £55 taxi ride home from Westminster, while Rebecca Harris (Castle Point) claimed back £101.