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Claims made by David Morris for legal costs
CAS-101101
Disclosure Date:16 Jan 2018
Categories: MPs' OFFICE COSTS COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES GENERAL EXPENSES ENQUIRY
Exemptions Applied: Section 40
Request
  1. Please provide as much detail as possible about two individual expense claims made by David Morris MP – one on 21/04/17 for £918.00 and a second on 28/04/17 for £2913.68.
  2. Specifically, who were the legal fees for? Was it David Morris MP or a staff member? What is his/her name?
  3. Why did they need legal fees? What was the nature of the legal incident?
  4. Is it ISPA policy to pay legal fees for MPs? If so, what are the rules surrounding this?
  5. Is it IPSA policy to pay legal fees for MPs staff? If so, what are the rules surrounding this?
  6. Why did ISPA reject this claim? Please be more specific than ‘not under scheme’.
  7. Will IPSA take be taking any action against David Morris MP for attempting to make this claim? If not, why not?
Response

Under the Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), MPs are reimbursed for expenditure they have incurred for parliamentary purposes. This may include any legal costs they incur in their role as MP (such as for advice on staffing matters). Such costs can be claimed from the Office Costs budget and so the rules at Chapter Six of the Scheme apply.

Claims must be supported by appropriate evidence (such as an invoice). With regards to the claims noted in your request, we hold copies of the supporting invoices which include a description of the work undertaken. This information contains sensitive personal data, disclosure of which would breach the Data Protection Principles. As such, we are obliged to withhold such information in accordance with 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.

Following receipt of a claim, we determine whether to allow or refuse it. The claims to which you refer in your request were not incurred as part of the MP’s parliamentary functions and were therefore rejected. As the claims were rejected, no payment was made and so no further action was required.