Under the FOI Act, please can you provide all receipts and evidence for expense claims from John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn that were rejected by Ipsa in the last five years.
Please also provide any correspondence between the MP or his office and Ipsa about the claims.
IPSA holds the information that you request.
Not paid claims
Following receipt of a claim by an MP, IPSA will determine whether to allow or refuse it. If IPSA determines to refuse the claim or to allow only part of the amount claimed it will notify the MP and specify the reason for refusal. This is usually communicated to the MP via the ‘status’ of the claim within the online expenses system.
Where a claim is refused, the MP may, within 14 days of that notification, request IPSA to review its determination. When requesting a review, the MP enters the review request into the online system. Following the review, the outcome is recorded alongside the claim details where the MP is able to view it.
As you may be aware, we publish details of all claims made by MPs on our publication website, which includes information on whether or not individual claims were allowed or not paid.
Please find attached, at Annexes A and B, details of all claims made in the last five years by Jeremy Corbyn MP and John McDonnell MP that were not paid. The claims listed in Annex A were not paid and were not subject to a review. The claims listed in Annex B were not paid and were subsequently subject to a review; these contain the MP’s review request and IPSA’s review. We have included the notes exchanged between IPSA and the MP (or their office).
The names of junior staff members are ‘personal data’, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). As such, we have withheld such information from the claim notes in accordance with section 40 of the FOIA. For reference, section 40(2) provides that personal information about third parties is exempt information if disclosure would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the DPA, where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. You can find out more information about personal data and FOI via guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on their website: http://ico.org.uk.
Receipts for not paid claims
Under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), all claims for reimbursement under the Scheme must be supported by evidence. You can view a copy of the Scheme on our website via this link. As such, we hold all supporting documentation provided in support of claims made by MPs.
Please click here to download all documentation submitted by Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell in support of the claims listed at Annexes A and B. For reference, we have withheld any personal information under section 40 of the FOIA, and a small amount of information under section 31 of the FOIA.
Section 31(1)(a) (Law enforcement) of the FOIA states that information is exempt if its disclosure under the FOI Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention (or detection) of crime.
After considering the nature of the withheld information it is our opinion that were a disclosure to be made into the public domain it is probable that this information could be traced back to sensitive personal or commercial information which could be used for criminal activity. Although we recognise the public interest in transparency surrounding the publishing of information relating to MPs’ expenses, there is also a strong public interest in ensuring that we are able to protect our service users from the threat of being subjected to criminal activity. In our opinion the public interest in protecting the security of MPs and their property outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
A small amount information, such as the names, signatures and personal contact details of third-parties, is ‘personal data’, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). As such, we have withheld such information in accordance with section 40 of the FOIA.
Although most communication with MPs regarding claims takes place via changes to the status of their claims on the online expenses system, further correspondence may take place via letter, email or over the phone.
We have searched our systems for any correspondence held relating to the claims listed at Annexes A and B and have located three emails and the records of a phone call, which are attached at Annex C. A small amount of personal data, such as the names of junior staff members, has been withheld in accordance with section 40 of the FOIA.