Brent East MP Sarah Teather has been dogged this week by revelations about expense claims for her constituency office and allegations that taxpayer money has been used for political campaigning (all articles here). Scrapbook can today disclose that, in addition to bills for her Parliamentary office, Sarah Teather has claimed for invoices worth £1,700 addressed to her local political party.
Despite strict rules stating that “claims cannot relate to party political activity of any sort” bills addressed to “Lib Dems”, “Brent Liberal Democrats” and “Brent East Lib Dems” were charged to Teather’s expenses, including invoices for furniture, insurance and telephone maintenance. The accounts for Brent Liberal Democrats show that the party pays nothing in rent, telephone, insurance and electricity charges, despite sharing such facilities with the Brent East MP.
A friendly Liberal Democrat source familiar with the office expenses system told Scrapbook:
“The working assumption is that Teather will have to pay at least some of this money back. You simply can’t claim for receipts addressed to your local party – especially when you share an office with them.”
In addition to bills to her local party, Teather has also submitted an invoice that appears to relate to the Election Agents Record System, used by Lib Dem campaigners during election campaigns. Such claims are especially damaging in the light of leaked Liberal Democrat documents describing the “divide between party political campaigning and MP campaigning” as a “grey area”:
Readers should keep an eye out for Guy News later today, which comes live from outside Teather’s office. In developments to come, further problems remain with the accounts submitted to the Electoral Commission.
One would hope that party treasurers would know what a “company” is.