From 13p staple removers to £500 mock-antique dressers, there are few items that cannot be found among the thousands of claims made by Britain's MPs over the past five years. But one item remains oddly absent: few ever seem to have paid for dinner.
More than 30 MPs have been shown to have claimed the maximum £400 allowance for food every month last year. But while many claim for the odd bite of lunch, their bills for dinner are almost always paid for by the journalists wining and dining them.
One exception is the Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw, who offers a rare example of an MP picking up the tab, albeit passed on to the taxpayer. A receipt from the Blue Fish restaurant in St Ives shows he and his guests enjoyed Pinot blanc, potted crab, monkfish, calamari, and fruit pudding. And it cost us only £100.45. Cheers!
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Tax-payer funds MP's charity wig
Lembit Opik Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire
The extrovert Lib Dem frontbencher did not want to be outshone at a charity fundraiser, so the taxpayer splashed out £19.99 for what he termed "the mother of all wigs" and a further £9.99 for a "filmstar wig".
Attempt to impeach Blair over Iraq: £14,100
Alex Salmond Scottish National Party leader
Taxpayers were charged £14,100 for legal advice over an attempt to impeach Tony Blair over his handling of the war with Iraq. The claim – split between nine SNP and Plaid Cymru MPs – emerged through Mr Salmond's expenses receipts. Mr Salmond's share was £790. A spokesman said his claim was "absolutely vindicated".
Taxi for Galloway – the secret Boris fan
George Galloway Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow
The ultra left-wing MP submitted a taxi receipt which has printed on it the words: "Back Boris for a Greater London – join my campaign online." Surely not a closet Johnson supporter?
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