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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 18:55 GMT
Doubts over MPs' expense claims
Ministerial car leaves Parliament
MPs can claim for daily journeys to and from work
MPs have questioned the accuracy of figures showing a breakdown of their 4.5m travel expenses claims.

Tory MP Richard Bacon said figures showing he claimed 5,685 were "ludicrous" and has asked the National Audit Office to investigate.

And Labour's Eric Joyce said figures showing he had the biggest claim, at 44,985, were not "feasible".

But a Commons spokesman said MPs were shown the figures in September and invited to correct inaccuracies.

The figures were finally published on Wednesday, following Lib Dem MP Norman Baker's two-year Freedom of Information battle with the Commons authorities.

They had argued publishing a detailed breakdown of claims could breach data protection rules, but were overruled by the Information Tribunal.

Travel to and from work
Travel on parliamentary business
Some European travel
Some select committee travel

Mr Baker said it was an "important victory" in the battle to make Parliament more accountable and said he hoped it would put pressure on MPs to spend less, and travel in more environmentally friendly ways.

But the figures immediately attracted complaints from some MPs who were singled out for their high claims.

Mr Bacon, MP for South Norfolk, said the published figures showed he had claimed nothing for mileage, which was wrong.

And he said his 5,685 for car hire, taxis and travel in cars belonging to other people was "ludicrous".

"My estimate is that I have spent a few hundred pounds on taxis over the last six years since I was first elected. Nor have I hired a car in the last 12 months," he said.

"I applaud Norman Baker's efforts to secure greater disclosure. I would also like any published figures to be accurate."

'Deeply flawed'

He has asked the NAO to investigate the methods used to record MPs' expenses, which he said appeared to be "deeply flawed".

Mr Joyce, Labour MP for Falkirk, had the highest overall claim - including 30,000 on air travel, but questioned whether that was accurate.

He told the BBC: "When the details are exposed to me and to the public, then you have to sit back and say: 'Is that something that is feasible?' And my own view was that it probably wasn't."

Open Secrets logo
These cases may result in the forced disclosure of more detail
Martin Rosenbaum, BBC News Freedom of Information specialist

But a Commons spokesman said MPs had been given the travel expense breakdowns in September, in anticipation of them being released.

"They were invited by the department to say if they had any concerns about accuracy," he said.

After the figures were issued, Commons authorities changed the title of one of the claims from "car hire and taxi" to "third party vehicle mileage" - which also includes travel by MPs in cars they did not own.

Tory leader David Cameron had apparently claimed 1,094, but his office said that figure actually covered the cost of using a replacement car, when his own got stolen in October.

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