HUDDERSFIELD MP Barry Sheerman has blamed the watchdog set up following the expenses scandal for “forcing” him to move office.
The Labour man has relocated from Cross Church Street to a smaller office in the Media Centre on Northumberland Street.
Mr Sheerman claimed new rules brought in by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) had forced him to leave his headquarters.
The body was set up in 2009 in the wake of the expenses scandal.
Mr Sheerman said: “The new IPSA rules didn’t make it possible for me to carry on at Cross Church Street. The rules have forced me to move.
“There’s a strict limit on how much I can pay. The rules aren’t sensitive enough.
“They take an average of office rentals in Huddersfield. This rule could lead to most MPs only being able to have their offices out of town.”
Mr Sheerman decided to leave the Labour Rooms to allow the building to find a new tenant.
He explained: “I had the ground floor which was the most accessible. It was becoming increasingly hard to let the floor above.
“I decided that it would be better for the trust which runs the Labour Rooms if I moved to a new premises and allowed them to get a commercial rent.
“I was very sad to leave Cross Church Street but it was time to move on.”
Mr Sheerman’s new office on the ground floor of the Media Centre officially opened yesterday.
He said: “I’m lucky that I’ve moved to the Media Centre. It’s not quite as central as Cross Church Street but it’s reasonably accessible.
“It’s smaller but it’s more modern and more accessible to people with a disability than the old office.
“It’s very nice with an in-house cafe where I can have semi-private meetings with constituents in a relaxed atmosphere. There are also meeting rooms in the building which I can hire.”
However, an IPSA spokesman last night denied the watchdog set MPs’ office budgets based on rental rates in their constituency.
“Every MP outside London has a limit of £21,500 a year for their office, including rent and the costs of running and maintaining the office,” he said.
“Mr Sheerman was within the overall office budget last year.”