MPs paid £3m in approved expenses

MPs were paid £3.1 million in expenses in the first three and a half months after the general election, details published by a watchdog showed today.

A breakdown of 22,000 claims submitted between May 7 and August 31 by 576 out of the 650 MPs was released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).

They are the first payments approved by the body set up to enforce tighter rules on MPs' use of taxpayers' cash in the wake of last year's expenses scandal.

Although a description of each claim will be published, Ipsa has decided it would be too expensive for it to release copies of individual receipts.

It was that detailed information which allowed some of the previous wrongdoing by MPs to be exposed in revelations which rocked Westminster.

The figures came out as anger among MPs over Ipsa's handling of the system was set to be renewed in the Commons.

A backbench motion condemning the "unnecessarily high costs and inadequacies" of the new system and calling for a "simpler" alternative will be debated later.

Ipsa has tried to dampen criticism by declining to publish rejected claims - reported to number 1,574 so far - until the MPs and staff have got more used to the system.

Prime Minister David Cameron claimed £2,581.13, including £2,408.75 for an annual subscription to the Parliamentary Resources Unit, which conducts research for mainly Conservative MPs.

Mr Cameron made six further claims, all for stationary. They included £94 on House of Commons headed A4 paper.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, claimed £582.62. His biggest single item of expenditure was £145.70 on headed paper followed by a £129 train journey from London to Macclesfield to visit his Tatton constituency.

He spent £96.08 on a printer cartridge and £21 hiring a hall for a constituency surgery meeting. Mr Osborne also spent about £25 on local newspapers.