Friday, 5 June 2009

Drummer boy for Metrix John Smith told to resign

Labour MP told to resign over £57k expenses claim
WalesOnline - United Kingdom
VALE of Glamorgan Labour MP John Smith last night faced a call for his resignation after it was alleged he claimed nearly £58000 in second home expenses ...

Following a rule change in April 2008 that required receipts for expenditure over £25, he submitted London home claims for £231 from Ikea and £140 from homeware store The Range, both from branches in Cardiff.

The Ikea receipt reveals he claimed £11.98 on a Njuta bath robe, £7.99 for a Skanka pan, £90 for Lycksele Murbo mattress, two £7.99 Hultet beaded drapes and £4.99 on a rimless picture frame with clips.

His claim from The Range included £69.99 on a set of table and chairs, £3.49 on an "onion garland" and £15.49 on a print by artist Cory Silken called Rugosa.

Mr Smith also twice attempted to claim the cost of Christmas cards on his office expenses. He first tried to bill the £295 cost of seasonal cards in November 2004 but was rejected by House of Commons officials.

He tried again for £305 the following year and was again rejected.

However, he successfully claimed £352.50 in legal bills for a dispute over his constituency office rent, submitting an invoice from a firm of solicitors in Caerphilly.

John Smith

Job: Labour MP for Vale of Glamorgan

Salary: £64,766

Total second home claims

2004-05: £20,620

2005-06: £20,862

2006-07: £22,110

2007-08: £23,083

Total expenses

2007-08: £148,514

Rate of attendance at votes: 48 per cent

Vale MP John Smith defends himself over expenses allegations
Barry and District News - Wales,UK
By Elinor Cross » VALE MP John Smith has defended himself against allegations that he exploited the mps' expenses system, after details of his claims were ...

Vale MP fights for his reputation after expenses allegations

Glamorgan Gem - ‎5 hours ago‎
VALE MP John Smith is under attack after a newspaper story alleging that he had claimed almost £58000 over four years, without submitting receipts. ...

MPs' expenses: John Smith claimed £57,955 without submitting a single receipt

Telegraph...An MP claimed £57,955 in second home expenses in four years without submitting a single receipt.

John Smith, a Labour backbencher, took advantage of generous allowances to claim an average of £14,488 a year – more than the average salary of a minimum wage worker– without providing evidence of any spending.

When he eventually made a claim backed up by a receipt, it was for home furnishings including a vase, a frying pan, a bath robe, beaded drapes and poster art.

Enemies of the People2009 New Labour M.P. John SmithPARASITE
2009 New Labour M.P. John SmithPARASITE. An MP claimed £57955 in second home expenses in four years without submitting a single receipt ...
MPs expenses John Smith claimed £57955 without submitting a single ...
MPs expenses John Smith claimed £57955 without submitting a single receipt. An MP claimed £57955 in second home expenses in four years without submitting a ...

MP John Smith defends himself over expenses allegations

7:40am Thursday 4th June 2009

VALE MP John Smith has defended himself against allegations that he exploited the MPs’ expenses system, after details of his claims were published in a national newspaper.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Mr Smith claimed £86,675 in additional costs expenses over four years – nearly £60,000 of them without the submission of receipts.

The Vale MP did submit receipts for poster art, a bath robe and beaded drapes, according to the article, and claimed £57,955 in running costs without receipts for a London flat over four years. The allegations came two weeks after Mr Smith announced he was standing down at the next election for health reasons.

The Telegraph reported that the MP took advantage of an allowance scheme which, until April last year, entitled ministers to claim the following per month without a receipt: £400 for groceries, £250 for utility bills, £250 for telephone bills, £250 for cleaning, £250 for service and maintenance, and £250 for repairs and insurance.

It was alleged that a House of Commons official wrote to Mr Smith in 2007 to ask if he would submit more specific claims rather than nominal sums. He said: “Ideally we would expect members to claim for actual amounts and not nominal sums.”

According to the Telegraph, Mr Smith continued to claim this way for nine more months – however, Mr Smith denies this.

The MP was also criticised for his attendance at parliament, showing up to only 48 per cent of votes and speaking in only 10 debates in 2007/8 despite claiming £148,514 in overall expenses for that year.

A spokesperson for Mr Smith denied any wrongdoing.

He said: “Mr Smith is devastated and repudiates allegations that he has exploited the parliamentary expenses system following an article in the Sunday Telegraph, which has appeared since he announced his retirement on health grounds two weeks ago.

“Historically, Mr Smith has been one of the lowest claimants of parliamentary expenses.

“He does not own a second home, he has never claimed for any luxury goods and all the money he has claimed over the years has gone towards meeting the cost of living and working in London, and not for personal gain.

“Mr Smith is committed to transparency and will publish his expenses in full, as soon as is practicable. “A number of allegations were made in the Sunday Telegraph which he did not have an opportunity to respond to,” added the spokesman.

“Mr Smith was accused of claiming Additional Cost Allowance between 2004 and 2008 without submitting receipts.

“Under the rules at the time, no receipts were required and all Mr Smith’s claims were cleared by the Commons Authority and were within the existing rules.

“Contrary to what was alleged in the newspaper article, in July 2007, when the Commons Authority wrote to Mr Smith informing him that he could no longer continue to claim in this way, he immediately changed his claims to meet the new requirements.”

He continued: “In April 2008 Mr Smith moved to an unfurnished bedsit in Pimlico and purchased some modestly priced items of furniture, including a table and two chairs and a sofa bed, and submitted receipts as required under further rule changes.

“Not all the items on the receipts referred to in the newspaper article were claimed for.

“Contrary to what was said in the Telegraph, it is untrue that Mr Smith submitted a bill for legal costs over a dispute with the landlord over his constituency office – in actual fact this was a standard commercial charge for drawing up a lease.”

In response to calls by Plaid Cymru parliamentary candidate for the Vale, Dr Ian Johnson, for Mr Smith to stand down immediately, the spokesman added: “It seems that political opponents in the Vale of Glamorgan are trying to damage Mr Smith’s reputation by linking the timing of his retirement announcement with the expenses furore.

“Nothing could be further from the truth – Mr Smith has been advised by his doctor not to stand for re-election, and he is following that advice.”


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