MPs’ Expenses Repayments: how the parties compare

I’m very grateful to a pseudonymous Lib Dem commenter, Goupillon, on for emailing through to LDV his tables showing how the parties compare when it comes to the expenses repayments demanded of MPs by Sir Thomas Legg.

The tables which follow are based on data from the list of expenses
miscreants provided by the BBC.

Total expenses to be paid back based on party affiliation:

    Labour: £446,416.28
    Conservative: £449,821.83
    Lib Dem: £42,945.18
    Others: £38,575.96
    Total: £977,759.25

MPs per party who have been called on to pay back expenses:

(not including those who have successfully appealed against Sir Thomas Legg’s ruling in their individual cases)

    Labour: 180
    Conservative: 108
    Lib Dem: 23
    Others: 18
    Total: 329

Percentage of MPs per party or grouping who have had to repay expenses:

    Labour: 51.6%
    Conservative: 56.0%
    Lib Dem: 36.5%
    Others: 43.9%
    Overall: 50.9%

Amount to be repaid per MP based on the total number of MPs per party or grouping in the House of Commons:

    Labour: £1,279.13
    Conservative: £2,330.68
    Lib Dem: £681.67
    Others: £940.88
    Overall: £2,971.91

Goupillon’s calculations do not take into account the 3 Labour MPs who were rumoured to be under threat of prosecution as these MPs do not appear to be on the BBC’s list. He freely confesses there
may be errors in the calculations – if anyone spots these, please do email us.

The ‘Others’ grouping includes the Speaker and Deputy Speakers, vacant seats, DUP, SNP, PC, SF and Independents.

Frankly there’s not much comfort for any political party to draw from this saga. But, still, the figures do bear out the folllwing statements of fact:

  • Lib Dem MPs have had to repay just one-tenth of the expenses that either Labour or Tory MPs have racked-up;
  • Lib Dem MPs are the least likely to have had to repay any expenses (one-third of our MPs had to make a repayment; more than half of Labour and Tory MPs had to);
  • Lib Dem MPs’ average repayments were far lower than for either Labour or Tory MPs (about half as much as Labour’s, one-third of the Tories’).

But, still, I wouldn’t reckon on printing “we’re not as bad as the other two” too large on your Focus leaflets.

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  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th Feb '10 - 4:09pm

    “Lib Dems are the least corrupt MPs.”

    Hmm. I don’t think “Only a third of our MPs are corrupt” will be the best slogan to fight a general election on …

  • Andrew Suffield 5th Feb '10 - 4:42pm

    To be fair, most (all?) of the Lib Dem MPs weren’t really making unreasonable claims, but felt that given the small sums involved, it was politically prudent to just repay them. There’s some amount of that in all the parties.

    It’s not so useful to look at the means here, since only a small number of MPs were involved in large-scale expenses abuse. Most MPs who’ve had to repay stuff (in all parties) were just being careless rather than trying to exploit the system; while that’s not a particularly good thing, it’s also not a big deal compared to the ones who were playing games with second homes and tax evasion.

  • ‘Libdems are the least corrupt’ MPs

    Well I don’t really know , since even Sir Paul Kennedy, to whom the MPs had to appeal felt that Legg’s conclusions were ‘damaging and unfai’r. Some of the real culprits, ‘the Fllppers’weren’t even touched.

  • Tony Greaves 5th Feb '10 - 5:11pm

    I am sorry that people here are using the word “corrupt”. Most of the repayments are nothing to do with anything that could be described as “corruption”.

    Tony Greaves

  • Nonetheless, the fact that thirteen of the top twenty largest sums to be repaid were racked up by Tory MPs is statistically significant (the other 7 were all Labour).

  • And how much did Michael Brown donate to the Liberal Democrats?

    How much has been paid back?

    Liberal Democrats down in the gutter with the rest of them…..

    Whats that about Glasshouses, stones and throwing?

  • Andrew Suffield 5th Feb '10 - 11:11pm

    Why exactly do you think the Lib Dems should be giving money to Michael Brown, to spend in whatever haven from extradition he’s hiding in? I think the money was far better spent pursuing liberal goals in the UK than it would be on making his life in exile more comfortable.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th Feb '10 - 11:23pm

    “Why exactly do you think the Lib Dems should be giving money to Michael Brown, to spend in whatever haven from extradition he’s hiding in?”

    I think you know very well that the previous poster was talking about paying money back to the people Michael Brown stole it from before he gave it to the Lib Dems!

  • Andrew Suffield 6th Feb '10 - 10:27am

    I don’t think it would be legal (there are strict regulations on the spending of political parties) for the Lib Dems to do something like that, even if the money to fund it existed, which it doesn’t. I’m pretty sure that all the “waah hand out money” crowd have not thought this idea through at all.

    Still, to be clear: your proposal is that the Lib Dems should give a large sum of money to millionaire Martin Edwards? I still think it was far better spent on pursuing political goals than in buying him a third swimming pool. Or were you suggesting that the Lib Dems should set up some sort of kangaroo court to determine exactly how much each member of society had been affected by these events, and disburse the appropriate number of pence to each person in the country?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Feb '10 - 5:45pm


    I didn’t propose anything. I just pointed out that you were wilfully “misunderstanding” the question asked by the previous poster. You knew perfectly well he wasn’t talking about giving the money back to Michael Brown.

    And now you are apparently suggesting that it would be _illegal_ for a political party, on discovering that someone had donated stolen money to it, to repay that money to the people it had been stolen from? You’d better be able to quote chapter and verse of the relevant statute, if you’re going to ask people to believe something so ridiculous.

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