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Rental contracts provided by Mhairi Black, George Freeman, Ian Paisley and Karen Bradley and four MPs' invoices
CAS-37761
Disclosure Date:26 Jan 2016
Categories: COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES MPs' OFFICE COSTS
Exemptions Applied: Section 22 Section 38 Section 40
Request
  • Please could you provide the receipts and any other supporting documents for the following expenses claims:
    • MP Name Claim number Date Amount
       Douglas Carswell  430238  18/05/2015  £427.61
       David Lammy  438833  19/05/2015  £868.7
       Geoffrey Cox  430932  21/05/2015  £0.54
       Laurence Robertson  440865  02/06/2015  £150

 

  • A copy of the most recent rental contract supplied to IPSA by Mhairi Black MP.
  • A copy of the most recent rental contract supplied to IPSA by George Freeman MP.
  • A copy of the most recent rental contract supplied to IPSA by Ian Paisley MP.
  • A copy of the most recent rental contract supplied to IPSA by Karen Bradley MP.
Response

IPSA holds the information that you have requested.

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 – including leases for rental arrangements and invoices for hotel stays.

Receipts

Please click here to download all invoices and receipts submitted to us in support of the claims specified in your request.

We have withheld some personal information, such as the names and signatures of third parties (under section 40 of the FOIA). 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.

Rental contracts

Accommodation Expenditure is provided under the Scheme to meet costs necessarily incurred on overnight accommodation which is required for the performance of an MP’s parliamentary functions.

MPs may only claim for Accommodation Expenditure in relation to a property at one location, which may be either:

  1. In the London Area, or
  2. Within the MP’s constituency, or within 20 miles of any point on the constituency boundary.

Claims may only be made for Accommodation Expenditure (other than hotel costs) once IPSA has approved the MP’s rental contract and agreed that such claims can be made.

Please use the links below to view the most recent rental contracts held relating to accommodation rented under the Scheme by the MPs noted in your request.

As you may be aware, at the end of each financial year[1], we publish the names of all landlords from whom MPs rent accommodation alongside the first part of the postcode for the property rented. This information can be found at the following address: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/AnnualisedData.aspx. As such, we have withheld the names of two MPs’ landlords under section 22(1) of the FOIA, which states that information intended for future publication is exempt from release. We have considered whether the public interest in releasing the information outweighs the application of the exemption. It is our opinion that the public interest is best served by publishing a full list relating to all MPs in line with our stated publication policy rather than disclosing on an ad hoc basis. This provides a clear and complete set of information, avoiding any potential confusion, and provides an appropriate balance between the legitimate interests of the public and the rights of the individuals concerned. It is for this reason that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure at this stage.

We have also withheld information pertaining to the location or layout of the properties, as well as any other information which may prejudice the safety and security of an MP, under Section 38(1)(b) (Health and safety) of the FOI Act. This section of the Act states that information is exempt if its disclosure under the FOI Act would, or would be likely to, endanger the safety of any individual. 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 likely that this information could be used to endanger the safety of the individuals who rely upon these locations for accommodation. Although we recognise the public interest in transparency surrounding the publishing of this information there is also a strong public interest in ensuring that as an organisation we are able to protect our service users from threats to their safety. In our opinion the public interest in protecting the personal safety of MPs’ outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

We have also withheld some personal information, such as the names and signatures of third parties (under section 40 of the FOIA).

 

[1] We started this exercise for the 2014-15 financial year and will update on an annual basis following the end of each financial year.