Barwell breaks election promise to publish MP’s expenses

After his car crash performance on Channel 4 News last night, when the frit career politician refused to debate with guests from other parties, our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, finds that the local MP has also been less-than-forthcoming about his parliamentary expenses, too

Rough calculation: £96,000-a-year Gavin Barwell claims more expenses than other Croydon MPs

Gavin Barwell has been breaking at least one of his first election promises for months – by failing himself to publish details of his parliamentary expenses.

The career politician, who was first elected as MP for Croydon Central in 2010, provides a clear illustration of his failure to be as good as his word on his own website.

Under a heading of “My expenses”, Barwell has a blank page with no details of his expenses claims.

This is a separate matter to his questionable accounting for his election expenses in 2015, at the time of the previous General Election, which was investigated by the Metropolitan Police but dropped for lack of evidence (even though Barwell had provided his own self-incriminating statement in his campaign memoir).

Inside Croydon can reveal that in the 12 months to May 2016 (the latest full year available), Barwell made expenses claims – all paid for out of public money – amounting to £28,396.81. This includes the costs of renting his office in his constituency, and even the £145.50 for a television licence.

That reimbursement figure paid to the MP is more than the salaries paid to many public service workers in Croydon, who have been on a strict pay squeeze since 2010, when Barwell and his Tory mates first began to impose their misfiring “austerity” measures on the nation.

For the past few months, Barwell has been pocketing a handsome ministerial salary of £96,375, thanks to parliamentary wage increases which the Tories waved through in 2015.

Back in 2010, when the scandal of MPs’ lavish expense claims were still headline news, Barwell made much of his being open and transparent in the way he might conduct himself if the people of Croydon (“My home town,” as Sussex-born Barwell likes to say) were to place their trust in the private school and Oxbridge-educated politician.

It’s only money. Your money: Tory MP Tricky Dicky Ottaway made the most of his expenses

Barwell had good reason to fear the electorate’s distrust of politicians over matters such as expenses.

In the neighbouring constituency of Croydon South, residents were lumbered with Tricky Dicky Ottaway, a ruddy-faced old-school Conservative whose epitomised the sense of entitlement at public expense which had caused so much outrage.

When he was MP, Ottaway made sure that he pushed his snout into every available trough. It saw him paying wages to his own wife, claiming for a second home in London despite his constituency being just a short train ride from Victoria, and using tax-payers’ money to help to maintain the gardens of his lavish home in the Surrey stockbroker belt, while also forking out for a special bed purchased from Harrod’s.

Caught out by the Telegraph‘s 2009 investigation, Ottaway was forced to promise to publish his expense claims if he wanted to be re-selected by the local Conservative members. Once elected in 2010, Ottaway failed to fulfill that promise.

And that’s something which Barwell has done now, too.

Barwell’s squeeky clean good intentions in 2010 appear to have long been forgotten.

On his own website, he writes: “A promise I made before the Election…” referring to 2010, “… was that I would publish my expense claims and the supporting receipts so that constituents could see exactly what I was claiming. Below is a list of my claims from the last three months and at the foot of the list there is a link to older claims. You can click on ‘view receipt’ to open, in your browser, PDF copies of the receipts.”

Except Barwell’s expenses page is blank, and the view receipt link does not work.

Barwell also promised to publish his official MP’s diary online, too, so that his constituents could keep a check on what he was doing.

That, too, is a pledge which Barwell has failed to uphold.

Blank check: Barwell’s failed to publish his own expenses, as he once promised, possibly for almost two years

One theory is that Barwell no longer has the expertise within his parliamentary and constituency offices, despite his employing six full-time and part-time staff, all paid for by the public.

Barwell’s gobby fac totem, Mario Creatura, was thought to be the staff member who maintained his digital presence, data-scraping campaign surveys and petitions for voters’ personal details for all he was worth (and all done at public expense, of course).

Even Creatura admitted as much when, two years ago, he said that “Gavin has no idea” about managing digital media.

But after the 2015 election, Creatura, by now a councillor in Coulsdon, quit Barwell’s parliamentary office to take up a job in public relations for a brewer (insert organising piss-up joke here).

Soon after that, Barwell’s website has become a black hole as far as his expense claims are concerned.

All MPs’ expenses are now a matter of public record, updated regularly, through the parliamentary website. In 2010, Barwell was offering to do something extra for his constituents by publishing his own exes claims on his website, to make them more readily available.

The website shows that in the 12-month period from May 2015 to April 2016, Barwell made 100 expenses claims, amounting to more than £28,000.

While his claims fluctuate from month to month, Barwell’s were generally below the average claims made by his 649 colleagues – largely because, as a London MP with a family home in Sanderstead, he has no need to claim for accommodation costs when parliament is sitting.

But compared to his MP neighbours, Barwell appears to run up bigger costs than others.

For the same 12-month accounting period, to May 2016, the MP for Lambeth South/Croydon North [delete to taste], Steve Reed OBE, claimed £24,559.40.

And Croydon South’s new boy, Chris Philp, claimed £14,340.19.

Such comparisons would be another reason why Barwell might have “forgotten” that election promise to publish his expenses.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in 2017 General Election, Chris Philp MP, Croydon Central, Croydon North, Croydon South, Gavin Barwell, Mario Creatura, Steve Reed MP and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Barwell breaks election promise to publish MP’s expenses

  1. davidjl2014 says:

    Dear old Walter ( the non-existent resident of this borough) is wasting his time, as usual. Forever plodding up and down the path of political righteousness, but never ending up with a factual solution.

    By his own admission, Walter states that Barwell’s election expenses were investigated by the Metropolitan Police yet dropped without sufficient evidence. So, if he wishes to pursue this matter, he should be attacking the Police Force for their incompetence, if he has contravening facts. Yet he also reports that Barwell’s expenses were actually BELOW the national average of other MPs. No, let’s get this straight, whole thing is a smear to discredit Barwell in an attempt to displace him at the General Election.

    Politics does get dirty, and if Barwell is guilty of malpractice then lets throw the book at him. But in the meantime, I suggest Walter, (now tagged “the phantom raspberry blower of old Croydon town”) opens his mind as wide as he opens his mouth, and shuts up about issues he has yet to prove.

    • Deary me. Dear old David demonstrating difficulty in his reading comprehension again.

      Election expenses are one thing.
      Barwell’s expenses as an MP are another thing altogether.

      Yet you somehow confuse and conflate the two.

      Barwell’s MP expenses are only below the national average because he does not claim any accommodation expenses, since he lives in Sanderstead.

      But he made a promise to the electorate to publish his MP’s expenses. He has failed to do that. So he’s lied to the electorate.

      That’s so simple, David, even you should understand it.

      • davidjl2014 says:

        So simple that it’s been proved today in a British Court of Law that he has no case to answer.

        • No David, it has not. Been over-indulging into the wee small hours again? You really shouldn’t be allowed so late, you’re just embarrassing yourself.

          No cases have been anywhere near a court of law. The CPS announcement yesterday made sure of that in all but one case.

          And Barwelll’s case was not among them. The police dropped that investigation long ago. As Inside Croydon was the first to report.

  2. There is nothing wrong renting a constituency office and paying for office expenses. All members of parliament do the same. Some claim more and some claim less.

    At least you give him credit for not claiming a second home allowance.

    Members of parliament don’t have to pay out of their pocket to run a constituency office.

    Perhaps you should find some interesting news to publish on your website.

  3. derekthrower says:

    This is a rather irrational statement. It is not about renting a constituency office. It is about the construction of an election return or more appropriately a fabrication in this case. It’s ok Patrick he never knowingly knew anything it.

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