The Bridgwater and West Somerset MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, has reacted defensively to the revelation that he received near a quarter of a million pounds in pay and expenses in 2012-13.
He claimed £178,875 in expenses on top of his salary of £65,738. Writing in today’s West Somerset Free Press, the MP claims his expenses are so high because of the size of his constituency. In his words: “I have to be seen in Watchet, Williton, Minehead, Dunster and all the way to Tarr Steps.”
Described others as ‘Scroungers and Malingerers..’
However, travel is a relatively small part of the claim. Mr Liddell-Grainger claimed far more for his flat in London – £1,560 a month rent, plus gas, electricity and Council Tax bills. This from a man who recently described others as scroungers and malingerers.
His staff costs of £127,952 included more than £30,000 for his wife, Jill. Because, he says: “she is available at midnight and six in the morning.”
Labour’s Free Press Letter
Meanwhile, West Somerset Labour Party Secretary Andy Lewis has drawn on direct experience of dealing with the MP, in a letter published in today’s Free Press:
Your report that our Member of Parliament costs the nation nearly a quarter of a million pounds a year might make people wonder whether we are getting value for money.
As you point out, Mr Liddell-Grainger does not hold surgeries in West Somerset to find out what people are worried about. Instead, he relies on his postbag. But how efficiently is that being managed ?
In September 2012, I wrote to him to raise concerns about Widowed Parents Allowance. This is a benefit paid to bereaved families, which the government plans to scrap. I received the usual brief acknowledgement, promising a substantive reply later. Then, nothing. So I wrote again, in January 2013. And again in July 2013. And again last month. Still nothing.
I believe I am entitled to know my MPs position. Perhaps this is a one-off and other people receive better treatment. But anecdotal evidence suggests that I am not the only one to be ignored.
What do other readers think? At £244,613 – is he worth it?”