Disgraced MP Eric Joyce claimed £71,500 expenses

Eric Joyce. Picture: Michael Gillen
Eric Joyce. Picture: Michael Gillen
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DISGRACED MP Eric Joyce claimed more than £71,500 in expenses last year, including fancy phones and designer glasses.

The former Labour backbencher, kicked out of the party after a brawl in a Commons bar, was the eleventh highest claiming MP.

Yet he spoke just seven times in the Commons and received answers to two written questions in the last year, making him one of the least active MPs.

He has announced he will stand down at the next general election in 2015, but refuses to go before then.

An analysis of his expenses shows the Falkirk MP tried to charge the public for two gourmet bacon baps costing £13 each.

He claimed a total mileage of 10,816, the equivalent of driving from London to Sydney. The mileage is made up of 26 trips – 14 by Joyce and 12 by his staff – from Falkirk to London. Each trip is 416 miles and MPs can claim back 45p per mile, which amounts to £187.20 per journey.

Mr Joyce claimed £1165 for two top-of-the-range iPhones and also charged voters £229 for a pair of designer glasses.

His biggest single travel claim was £404.93 for flights.

And his total claims came to £71,641.

But nine claims over the past year were rejected by watchdogs.

Two were for London hotels, one of them for £896.92. A £17.05 claim for a “bacon bap and milk drink after a late flight” was knocked back as was a bacon bap claim for £13.05.

Former Falkirk MP Dennis Canavan said: “Eric Joyce has a brass neck continuing to claim such large sums. He should stand down now so his constituents can choose a representative who is fit for the job.”

Mr Joyce was forced to resign from the Labour Party after lashing out at fellow politicians at a House of Commons bar in February last year. The 53-year-old was given a 12-month community order and handed a three-month curfew.

He defended his claims, saying the glasses were for a staff member to do computer work, which is allowed under the rules.

He claimed it was often more practical to drive to London, especially if he was travelling with his children.