MEP accused of breaking expenses rules

Posted On 14 Feb 2011 at 8:30 am

One of the MEPs who represents Brighton and Hove has been accused of abusing the European Parliament daily attendance allowance.

The Labour MEP Peter Skinner, one of ten Members of the European Parliament for South East England, defended his actions after he was allegedly caught out by the News of the World.

Mr Skinner, 51, is said to have “clocked on” to qualify for the £258 allowance and then headed home.

The newspaper said that European Union (EU) rules state that the allowance is to cover expenses such as accommodation and meals incurred as a result of attending official meetings.

The meetings are supposed to take place away from the MEP’s home country and on the day when they are signed for.

Mr Skinner, who has been an MEP since 1994, said: 

“I believe politicians should always be accountable to the people they represent, which is why I openly publish my allowances online for everyone to see.

“It is often the case, like this week, that I will work six days on the trot, some of which will be spent in the constituency.

“I left Parliament this Friday in order to speak at a funeral of an ex-soldier and former councillor in Aldershot that afternoon and will have worked in three different counties over the weekend to help people in those areas who are suffering from the Tory-led government’s devastating cuts.

“As an MEP, Parliament is not the only place I carry out my work.

“My first duty is to represent people across the South East which is sometimes best done face to face in the UK rather than being sat in Parliament.”

The News of the World said that, on Friday 21 January, Mr Skinner clocked on at the European Parliament at 7.40am.

The newspaper said that he reached Brussels Midi station just after 8am and caught the 8.29am Eurostar to St Pancras where he arrived at just after 9.30am.

He was one of 160 MEPs filmed clocking on by the News of the World even though there were no official sittings on the day in question.

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