While we were waiting for Dodgy Dave to publish his tax returns and for Jeremy Corbyn to find his, Inside Croydon has dug out some financial records on Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell.
Back in 2010, when still a thrusting and eager Tory candidate, Gav promised the Croydon electorate that if he was elected as the MP, he would publish his parliamentary expenses claims. The nation was still scandalised at that time by the extent and greed of MPs’ expenses claims, such as another Croydon Tory MP at that time, Tricky Dicky Ottaway.
Barwell claimed that he would not be like that, and that his claims would be published on his own website, openly and transparently. It was an election pledge which Barwell kept… but only for a short time.
Now, of course, MPs’ expenses claims are published for them (so Barwell might claim, retrospectively, that that is why he quietly dropped his promise, without bothering to tell anyone). So since Gav is not getting any one of his six (yes: six) parliamentary staff to publish his expenses claims, Inside Croydon thought we would do it for him – especially as he has taken to voting for cuts of £30 a week in benefits for disabled people.
There’s no claims for moats, floating duck houses or special beds from Harrods listed here for Barwell’s expenses, which cover the months from last May’s elections through to March this year.
The claims appear to be for the costs of running his constituency and parliamentary offices – which according to his own election memoirs, spent most of the year 2014-2015 working with one goal: getting Barwell re-elected and saving their own jobs.
But the documents for May 2015 through to March this year show that there’s plenty of phone bills, cleaning charges for his constituency office (where Croydon councillor Sara Bashford does her day job), waste disposal and even some very pricy water.
All adding up to considerably more than 30 quid a week, and all at the public’s expense…
Indeed, the grand total claimed by Gavin Barwell for his expenses in less than a year:
Or an average of more than £280 per week.
Those disabled people and their carers who are having benefits cut thanks to the work of Barwell and his chums might take a view on the MP’s priorities.
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He probably uses House of Commons stationary just to keep costs down
Definitely something dodgy about all those “stationary” fees! seriously is that even physically possible in one day?
Who does he rent his office from? It’s only a shop front in an area it’s probably quite hard to rent out retail space in.
You should have gone to Specsavers. The number of “shop fronts” available to rent in Croydon are the highest on record!
Yes. That’s exactly the point NorwichPete was making.
Thing is, by charging a “rent” for using, say, the Croydon Tory offices or a constituency office for his surgeries, Barwell is ensuring the further transfer of public cash to the Conservative Party.
Thanks for replying to David, I couldn’t work out whether I was being too subtle or if my grammar had gone to pot. For clarity it looks like Mr Barwell is paying well over the odds for a shop front which I’m told (having not been to visit myself) isn’t even fully accessible.
Oh I see. He should really be running the whole thing from his private home. Claiming no expenses, and paying for everything out of his own pocket. Everyone would be happy then?
No one, apart from you, David, has made such a silly suggestion.
Indeed, the report explicitly differentiates between Barwell’s claims and those more egregious expenses claims of the likes of Ottaway.
But by publishing what Barwell has claimed for, the public – who are footing the bill, after all – have a right to ask exactly what their money is being spent on: such as the transfer of public money to the Conservative Party for renting his surgery venue, its cleaning and repair. And just what are all those stationery bills paying for? More bogus campaign letters?
After all, Barwell is not beyond asking for a receipt for his lunchtime packet of crisps – so he’s certainly considered claiming for even the most minor of personal expenditure in the past.
A “silly” suggestion I think not then. If he and all the others on the “Gravy Train” abided by it, the political hysteria created by reporting such matters would end. Here and now.