MP John Hayes has defended his £800-plus claim to heat his “London place” following a Sunday Mirror story.
The newspaper hit out at the “grasping hypocrisy” of 340 MPs who collectively claimed £200,000 in a year for energy bills while millions of voters are struggling to keep pace with soaring gas and electricity costs.
Claims included one from millionaire Tory Nadhim Zahawi who pocketed £5,822 – more than four times the average energy bill.
Mr Hayes, MP for South Holland and The Deepings, claimed £818.07 – and Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles £673.05.
Mr Hayes said: “I have claimed much less than many of my colleagues and the reason for that is that I do think that it is important to try to be as careful about these things as one can.
“Obviously I live away from home during the week. All of my claims are fully receipted and I have them scrutinised by an independent standards authority.”
Mr Hayes says he could do everything from Westminster, but chooses to live in South Holland in order to better represent his constituents, particularly to fight for those who are disadvantaged or less well off.
He says there is no way an MP’s salary could pay for a home, a second home and two offices – with all the associated costs – and, if there were no expenses paid, only the rich could afford to become an MP.
“It is not as if I have done anything inappropriate,” Mr Hayes said. “Nobody has ever accused me of not doing things by the book.”
Labour county councillor Phil Dilks said: “MPs should be helping those struggling to pay rising bills, not helping themselves.”
But Mr Hayes says county councillors like Coun Dilks claim expenses in order to represent their electorates.
Mr Boles declined to comment on his energy bill.