Brighton MP Simon Kirby has spoken out as the latest figures showing MPs’ expenses were set out.
The Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown urged constituents to contact him with any comments or questions that they might have about his expenses.
He claimed £46,486.36 in the 2011-12 financial year. His Conservative colleague, Hove MP Mike Weatherley, claimed £44,281.75 and the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas claimed £29,014.21.*
Mr Kirby said that the money funded the cost of running offices in Telscombe Cliffs and Westminster, as well as supporting Mr Kirby’s work in Parliament.
The figures were published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) which was set up to oversee MPs’ spending since the expenses scandal.
Mr Kirby said: “My aim is to be the best possible representative in Parliament for my constituents in Brighton Kemptown.
“To achieve that aim I have spent the last two years operating between two very busy offices in the constituency and in Westminster.
“I employ four members of staff, all of whom work very hard for my constituents.
“Between us we have taken up casework on behalf of over 7,000 people, replied to over 30,000 emails, phone calls and letters and held over 100 advice surgeries.
“I am honoured to have spent many long hours in Parliament defending the interests of my constituents, attending 93 per cent of votes, tabling hundreds of parliamentary questions and standing on the influential Business, Innovation and Skills and 1922 Committees.
“I am always mindful of the costs associated with the tremendous effort that goes into representing almost 100,000 people locally and in Westminster.
“I make every effort to save the taxpayer as much as is possible and provide excellent value for money while remaining an effective MP.
“I completely understand the concern that many people have over expenses, which is why I operate with complete transparency.
“Since my election my expenses have been available online for all to see, and I want to take this opportunity to encourage my constituents to get in touch if they have any suggestions as to how I could be more efficient.
“My constituents deserve total transparency, hard work and value for money from their MP.
“I strive to offer that, and I will continue to do all that I can to be a strong voice for Brighton Kemptown in Parliament and serve my constituents to the best of my ability.”
He spoke as IPSA reported that the total bill rose by a quarter to almost £90 million last year.
The money went on second homes and hotel rooms, staff, travel and office costs, including dozens of iPads.
Critics said that the figure was almost as high as it was when the expenses scandal made headlines in 2009.
IPSA said that the rate of claims was stable with the general election depressing the level of claims in the previous year.
Sir Ian Kennedy, the chairman of IPSA, said: “If we want a good service from our MPs, we have to fund them.
“And if you don’t think you get a good service from your MP, the answer is not to withhold funding. It is to use your vote.”
* An earlier version carried a wrong amount for Caroline Lucas.