Abena Oppong-Asare squirms as she fumbles over policy
Shadow Treasury minister Abena Oppong-Asare has been slammed by Tory MPs after it was revealed she charged the taxpayer for a parking fine.
The top Labour MP expensed a £55 fine, putting it down as a “staff travel” bill.
She claims a “distressed constituent” saw her overrun at a constituency surgery and a member of staff then submitted the claim without her knowledge.
While Labour claims it was an “administrative error”, Ms Appong-Asare’s blaming of a member of staff sits at odds with Sir Keir’s Starmer’s mantra that “you should never turn on your staff”.
A recent similar row broke out after it emerged three Tory MPs, and an SNP MP, had expensed driving fines.
READ MORE Four MPs ordered to repay driving fines claimed on expenses using taxpayer funds
At the time, Labour accused the Tory MPs of “flouting the rules” and damaging “public confidence in the system”.
Shadow Commons Leader Thanham Debbonaire told The Independent: “While Rishi Sunak’s MPs break the rules and try and make the taxpayer pick up the bill, working people are left struggling to cope with the soaring Tory cost of living crisis”.
“Tory MPs flouting the rules damages public confidence in the system. Rishi Sunak must clamp down on the rule-breakers in his party and get on with delivering for the British people.”
Now the Tories are getting their own back at Labour, with demands for Sir Keir Starmer to clamp down on his own rule breaking MP.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith warned: “If Starmer doesn’t get rid of her, then taxpayers beware”.
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“What a ridiculous claim. Why was she allowed to claim it? It shows that they have a misplaced sense of entitlement.”
Ms Appong-Asare only paid the fine after being contacted by the Independent.
Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said the MP’s behaviour was “sloppy” and she should be “taking better care with public finances”.
He added: “We should not have to rely on The Independent to protect the public finances”.
The MP expenses watchdog, IPSA, has since promised a fresh crackdown on the practice.
A spokesperson said: “MPs and their staff are not allowed to claim for penalty charges and fines under IPSA rules”.
“Paragraph 3.26 of the Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs clearly states that these fines are not claimable.”
“IPSA’s checks failed in this case to identify that the claim was not allowed. It has now been repaid. We have changed our process to ensure any future such claims are not paid.”
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