Conservative MP Richard Ottaway has hit the parliamentary jackpot again.
According to the latest official figures from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, or IPSA, in the financial year to May 2014, Tricky Dicky cost the taxpayer the grand total of:
And of that amount, the Ottaway household managed to bank around £100,000 in their own wages.
For all the outrage and scandal of #WadGate, with Croydon Tories trying to claim back-dated allowances, Mike Fisher’s £11,000 is small change compared to Tricky Dicky when it comes to snouting in the trough.
Ottaway is less than nine months away from being detached from his access to the public purse, when he stands down as MP for Croydon South after 23 years.
A peerage in the dissolution honours next spring will, of course, ensure that Ottaway continues to be allowed to dip into the public purse in his semi-retirement.
Ottaway is easily the most expensive of Croydon’s three MPs. The £250,000 cost of servicing the expert expenses grabber is made up of salaries for him and his staff in his constituency and Westminster offices, plus his own expenses and office costs.
Yet even when given a massive chunk of public money, it is never enough for Ottaway.
Despite being allocated a generous £145,205 to staff his parliamentary and constituency offices, Ottaway still managed to go over budget. He also spent an additional £18,511.47 on office expenses.
Some of that money goes straight into the coffers of the Croydon Conservative Association. In a party-funding device commonly used by politicians of all hues, Ottaway spends around £6,000 each year to pay “rent” to the Croydon Tories for his use of their Purley offices. This is all entirely legitimate, of course.
Ottaway’s own parliamentary salary came to £84,883.92, since on top of his backbencher’s £66,396 wage, he was also paid £3,759.96 in a London living allowance – although he has chosen to have his principal home outside his constituency, and outside London – and he then received £14,727.96 for chairing the foreign affairs select committee, another nice little earner.
Despite the employment of family members being exposed as one of the worst abuses in the MPs’ expenses scandal five years ago, Ottaway has managed to keep Nicky, his wife, on the public payroll as a “senior secretary”, and paid up to £15,000, doubtless a significant help towards the housekeeping for their stately pile in Bletchingley. How do they manage to makes ends meet?
In contrast, Croydon Central Tory MP Gavin Barwell (£70,155.96 salary and London weighting), spent £10,000 less than Ottaway to staff his offices last year. His gobby fac totum must come cheap. Barwell also spent £20,820.37 on his office expenses.
The Croydon North MP, Labour’s Steve Reed OBE, like Barwell, is on a backbencher’s salary. He spent £141,695.81 on his office staff and £24,759.41 on office expenses.
All amounts paid to Ottaway and our other MPs can be found on the IPSA website here.
In the past year, Ottaway, despite his venal use of the parliamentary expenses system, has been rewarded by being made a member of the Privy Council and given a knighthood. That was one of the baubles dispensed by Prime Minister David Cameron in December which the Daily Mail – the Daily Mail no less! – described as an example of cronyism and low-level corruption. That must have filled Sir Tricky Dicky and Lady Nicky with such pride.
Her Majesty’s Daily Torygraph chose to highlight the apparent contradiction in rewarding MPs who had already been caught with their hands in the parliamentary expenses cookie jar: “Three MPs criticised over expenses given knighthoods”. One of those happens to be our Croydon South MP.
Ottaway ensuring he collects the biggest possible wedge is nothing new. In 2009, Ottaway was exposed as the only Croydon MP to be claiming for a second home – despite his representing a London constituency within a short commute to parliament. Ottaway lives in a country pile in Bletchingley in Surrey, nine miles south of his constituency. That means nine miles further away from his workplace at Westminster than the people he is supposed to represent. And we were paying for that privilege.
Ottaway is also a man who thought nothing of submitting expenses claims to get the public to pay £59.99 on light bulbs, £50 for repairing a tractor tyre and £48 for modifying a scarifier. His country house and garden in Surrey clearly requires a lot of maintenance at our expense. He even claimed for hiring of a chimney sweep.
Let’s hope he and Nicky are well prepared for the hardships of life on a pension…
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema: Chef, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: Remembering the Great War, Sep 18
- The Complete History of the BBC – Abridged, Spread Eagle, Sep 19-20
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- South Croydon business breakfast, Sep 20
- Music At The Unit, Lives Not Knives, Centrale, Sep 20
- Open House London weekend, Sep 20-21
- David Lean Cinema: A Night At The Cinema in 1914, Sep 22
- Activity to Work back-to-work workshops, Sep 23
- David Lean Cinema: Jimmy’s Hall, Sep 25
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Fancy dress family funday, Sep 28
- Ukrainian choir concert, St John’s Shirley, Sep 29
- Tree Sides, Spread Eagle Theatre, Oct 2-4
- The Goon Show, Spread Eagle Theatre, Oct 8-11
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- South Croydon business breakfast, Oct 18
- Croydon 10km road race, Oct 19
- This Was The World and I Was King, Spread Eagle, Oct 23-25
- Albert Einstein – Relativity Speaking, Spread Eagle, Nov 12-15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
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