Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson blames “sheer incompetence” of expenses body over a ‘written off’ £7.50 parking ticket

General Election Count 2015.   Stewart Jackson EMN-150805-130520009
General Election Count 2015. Stewart Jackson EMN-150805-130520009

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson has criticised the regulatory body for MPs’ expenses after it ‘named and shamed’ him over a parking ticket for £7.50.

Mr Jackson was included on a list of 26 current and former MPs who had expenses debts written off after failing to repay them.

However, Mr Jackson claimed he was more than willing to pay back the £7.50 and he criticised the “sheer incompetence” of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) which he says prevented him from doing so.

He said Ipsa had written off the expense claim before he had been able to repay it.

Mr Jackson said his parking ticket was a completely legitimate expense claim and that the only problem was he had been unable to provide a receipt to Ipsa.

He added that he never normally claimed for parking and that he did so on this occasion because he was late for an important meeting in Parliament last year.

Therefore, he decided to drive his car to Peterborough Station before travelling to London.

He said: “I had a very important meeting and was in danger of missing it.

“I was happy to write a cheque but Ipsa decided to write off the £7.50.

“MPs are sustaining reputational damage because of Ipsa’s sheer incompetence.

“It’s completely inappropriate to come to any other conclusion. I was willing to pay.”

Mr Jackson said he did not give Ipsa authority to write the claim off and that he was happy to now give the money to charity.

Out of all 26 MPs named by Ipsa who had debts written off, Mr Jackson’s £7.50 was the lowest with other MPs having sums written off totalling hundreds of pounds.

Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered three ministers to repay expenses debts after they were ‘named and shamed’ by the Commons watchdog.

Ipsa named Tobias Ellwood, Edward Timpson and Caroline Dinenage among 26 current and former MPs who they said had failed to settle sums of up to £500 last year, forcing them to be written off.

A number of MPs, however, were furious that Ipsa had chosen to publish details of some very small alleged debts, many of which appeared to be disputed.

Mr Jackson said he had merely forgotten to press the receipt button on the car park machine.

He added: “I think this list needs some scrutiny because I think you will find it is probably, and not surprisingly, errors on the part of Ipsa in processing legitimate claims.

Mr Jackson said he had been in “active discussions” with Ipsa about the claim for some time, but they decided to write it off and publish.

He suggested that sending a cheque to avoid the argument might have been easier, but it was “not a priority” amid the upheaval of the general election.