MP caught out over false mileage claims

Bob Blackman expenses
PA/PA Wire

The MP for Harrow East, Bob Blackman, faces repaying more than £1,000 in wrongly claimed mileage expenses, following an investigation by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

Conservative backbencher Blackman was found to have submitted more than 700 expense claims with inaccurate mileages, for journeys between his office and constituency home, and to party political events.

The findings from IPSA's provisional investigation state: "The Compliance Officer has concluded that mileage claims submitted by Mr Blackman are, in almost every instance, not accurate and greater than the distance travelled. This is disputed by Mr Blackman," The Telegraph reports.

This is not the first time Mr Blackman has been warned by IPSA about high mileage claims. In 2011 he was contacted by officials who were concerned that his claims were "around twice the average for constituency mileage across the UK and some six times higher than other suburban London area constituencies where mileage is claimed".

An investigation was first initiated in December 2012, after a pattern of over-claiming emerged, in which Mr Blackman would routinely claim for double the mileage actually travelled.

However, this probe was halted after it was decided that Mr Blackman would better benefit from advice to improve his record keeping.

This didn't work, though. In 2013-14, Mr Blackman was found to have claimed for more miles than any other MP by more than 50 per cent. It was then that an investigation was launched, which found that the MP had merely made a token gesture, by reducing each journey claim by a single mile.