The A-Z of expenses

Amol Rajan reveals how MPs have been spending taxpayers' money – from an Asda pizza to the Zetter Hotel
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Indy Politics

A is for Asda. Even the richest member of the Cabinet, Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward, couldn't resist the allure of a pizza costing £1.06 from the Asda in St Helens in November 2004.

B is for bathrobe. Culture Secretary Andy Burnham wanted £19.99 for bathroom attire. But didn't get it – a rare act of frugality by the House of Commons authorities; or barbecue at £6.14 bought from B&Q by one MP in the Home Counties.

C is for Cesar. One animal-loving female Conservative MP claimed 78p for two tins of Cesar chicken and turkey pet food and £3.69 for Iams Senior pet food; Chocolate Santa, 59p, charged by a Welsh Labour MP in 2006; Douglas Alexander spent £928 getting his chimney relined. No doubt easing Santa's route into his second home.

D is for Dyson Animal vacuum cleaner, £299.99, claimed by a meticulous Liberal Democrat MP in 2005.

E is for elephant lamps, two for £134.30, bought by a well-known Tory frontbencher; eyeliner, £2.50, from Boots, bought by a female Liberal Democrat MP in 2005.

F is for Farrow and Ball paint, charged by a Tory shadow minister as part of a £1,775 interior house painting claim for his home in the country; Farley's Rusks, £1.59, bought by a Conservative backbencher.

G is for gardening. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson might have expected more time to contemplate his garden before his return to Cabinet. He claimed £1,500 to improve it. G is also for Ginger Crinkle biscuits claimed by one peckish Labour backbencher.

H is for hanging baskets and tubs. Labour grandee and Minister for Housing and Planning, Margaret Beckett, wanted £600 for flower decoration, but was turned down. However one wealthy Tory MP successfully claimed £10 for a bag of horse manure for his country retreat.

I is for invoices. And missing ones at that – Culture Secretary Andy Burnham couldn't account for £1,032 worth of invoices missing from his claim for £16,644. 5p Ikea bag, claimed by a Labour MP in his Scottish constituency.

J is for Jaffa Cakes. £1.60 for two packs, charged by an outspoken junior minister in 2004; Jellied eels, £1.31, claimed by an Essex-based MP. Or John Lewis sofas, for which David Miliband claimed £450.

K is for kitchen. A new one, that is, for Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, who spent £1,845 on a kitchen in his flat near Westminster.

L is for lavatory seat. John Prescott bought two in the space of a year for his constituency home; Lilies £11.97, claimed by a garden-loving Tory MP in 2004.

M is for microwave. Secretary of States for Wales Paul Murphy claimed £139.93 for his microwave oven; make-up mirror by Revlon bought by one female Labour MP.

N is for nappies. Two packets of Pampers at £5.65 each, charged by a junior Labour minister after he became a father.

O is for oil. One senior member of David Cameron's Shadow Cabinet claimed £1,581 for heating oil in 2007-08; Odd Jobs: a Liberal Democrat frontbencher charged for the cost of a handyman to replace a rope on his swinging chair, at a cost of £77.

P is for pizza wheel. £3 bought from a Bodum shop in Oxfordshire by Tory backbencher; piano tuning £40, claimed by a former Tory minister in 2004; pouffe, £199 from DFS, bought by Labour hard man.

Q is for quiche flan dish. Part of a 110-piece dinner set bought on ebay for £155 by the wife of one labour backbencher.

R is for rats. One well-heeled labour member claimed £199 per quarter for regular visits from Rentokil to deal with a rat and mouse infestation at her London home.S is for shampoo. £1.65, claimed by a balding Labour backbencher in 2007; swimming pool: one Tory grandee charged £98.63 for a service on his swimming pool boiler at his country home.

T is for Tampax. Two packs at £1.11 each, claimed by a male Conservative MP who lost his seat in 2005; toilet brush holder, £9.99 from Homebase, bought by a fastidious male member of the Liberal Democrats.

U is for utensils. A potato peeler, £4.50, claimed by a member of the Tory front bench; underfloor heating for a shower room, £575, claimed by one of labour's most extravagant backbenchers.V is for Vileda supermop, £4.99, claimed by a moustache-wearing Labour MP in 2005.

W is for wine rack. £14.99 from Homebase claimed by a Labour MP for his West Country home; weed killer, £3.49 from Focus DIY, bought by a Labour MP who is clearly also a part-time handyman.

X is for X-rated movies. Ordered by the husband of a Labour frontbencher, two for £10.

Y is for yucca plant, £9.99 from Homebase, bought by a home-loving Liberal Democrat member for his constituency home.

Z is for Zanussi oven. Bought for £337.18 by a knighted Tory MP from a B&Q outlet in 2007. Or for the Zetter Hotel (below): Voted one of the world's 50 coolest hotels by Conde Nast, with luxurious rooms for up to £211 a night, the Communities and Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears spent two nights there after selling her flat.