THE Examiner will today get full access to Barry Sheerman’s expenses with the Huddersfield MP claiming: "I have nothing to hide."
Mr Sheerman is to follow Colne Valley MP Kali Mountford in allowing us to look through his claims following 11 days of revelations about MPs’ spending that have sparked public outrage.
He believes there should be a Royal Commission to look at the whole expenses issue and blames ‘cowardice’ of successive Governments for not agreeing to salary rises recommended by independent pay review panels.
The Huddersfield MP planned to publish his expenses on his website yesterday until he was advised not to because of concerns about data protection.
But he said there was nothing in them that should attract the kind of hostility that caused Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik to lose his job as Justice Minister.
He said: "I’ve gone through it all and it all looks pretty boring to me. I have stuck to the rules and have never flipped my house.
"I’ve never used the allowance for buying things for myself that always seemed inappropriate."
He said he would publish his catering bill which amounts to about £200 to £250 a month.
Mr Sheerman said: "I was saying to my staff that when you look at that on its own it looks quite high.
"We spend an awful lot on buying visitors tea and coffee and meals in the House. It can cost £30 for a lunch and £50 for dinner – the prices have really gone up. But you can’t serve your guests a cheese sandwich."
Mr Sheerman blamed failures in political leadership from successive Governments under prime ministers from Margaret Thatcher to Gordon Brown for the expenses furore.
He said: "There has been a sense of cowardice to do anything to change the system.
" I would like to see a proper, independent Royal Commission set up to look at the whole mess and establish some rules for the future, taking it out of the hands of the party leaders and when this independent body makes a recommendation, it is accepted."