Page last updated at 12:02 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 13:02 UK

Plaid MEP urges expenses release

The euro currency sign in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt
The euro currency sign in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt

Plaid Cymru's Jill Evans has called on Labour to release its MEPs' expenses data before the European elections.

The MEP, who is standing for re-election, says she has published her expenses for the first three months of 2009 and will do so every quarter.

But Labour said all its MEPs voluntarily had their office expenditure independently audited.

Labour also said both its Welsh MEPs "consistently campaigned and voted for more transparency" on allowances.

Plaid's election campaign has featured several attacks on Labour's record, and Ms Evans's comments came against a backdrop of continuing controversy over politicians' expenses in Westminster.

Ms Evans is standing for re-election to the European Parliament, but the two Labour MEPs Glenys Kinnock and Eluned Morgan are standing down.

"Since my election to the European Parliament I have campaigned to reform the wasteful expenses system," said Ms Evans.

Independent accountant

"I have frequently condemned the allowances publicly and always voted for more openness and for all details of MEPs' expenses to be made public."

At its manifesto launch, Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones also criticised Labour's record in the European Parliament.

Labour responded to Plaid's comments by saying that since 2000 all its MEPs had agreed to submit office and secretarial expenditure to an independent accountant "to ensure that all expenditure is within the European Parliament regulations, applicable law and the additional guidance laid down by the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP)."

Labour said both Ms Kinnock and Ms Morgan published the accountant's certificate of conformity on their websites, and that other parties had only "belatedly" introduced other systems of accountability.

Labour also said both its Welsh MEPs also fully supported the EPLP decision "to ensure that all Labour MEPs in the new Parliament publish all expense details online every six months, including receipts of office costs, and a breakdown of their daily allowance".

Office equipment

In addition, Labour said its MEPs' office and administrative costs allowances of a maximum of 4,000 euros a month was "spent entirely on office equipment".

A Welsh Conservative Party spokesman said: "We recognise the public is angry about the issue of politicians' expenses.

"That's why all Conservative MEPs provide full transparency of their expenditure.

"We are pleased Plaid Cymru is following our lead in starting to rebuild trust in politics."

The Welsh Liberal Democrats' lead candidate, Alan Butt Philip, said the Plaid MEP was right to publish her expenses online, "but this really is the least Welsh voters should expect".

Mr Butt Philip said: "All Liberal Democrat candidates and existing MEPs have signed up to a full and proper code of conduct which the Welsh public can scrutinise us against.

"The people I meet as I campaign cross Wales don't just want to see what expenses are claimed, they want to see less waste and absolute decency and accountability."

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