Boston and Skegness MP Mark Simmonds has defended his stance on claiming back constituency advertising as part of his expenses.
Today’s Daily Mirror states that the Conservative Member of Parliament has been reimbursed more than £10,000 by the taxpayer to cover the cost of advertising hoardings at Boston United and Skegness Town football clubs, plus regular slots on Pilgrim Hospital Radio, as well as a poster at Boston Rugby Club, since becoming an MP in 2001.
However, Mr Simmonds has labelled the story ‘utterly ridiculous’ - arguing that this advertising acts as a crucial part of his role in the community.
He said: “This is utterly ridiculous. Making sure my constituents know how to contact me is a key part of my role as an MP and has proved invaluable for some constituents.
“All of my constituents will know how important Pilgrim Hospital is in the local community.
“I will not apologise for ensuring vulnerable people in hospital can contact their Member of Parliament.”
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) told The Standard that Mr Simmonds had acted ‘within the spirit of the rules’.
“To me, there seems to be very little point in having a very expensive independent body charged with overseeing MP’s expenses if their rules and judgements are going to be ignored,” Mr Simmonds added.
The Mirror’s story says that Mr Simmonds’ advertising hoarding at Boston United costs £1,000 per year, while other annual costs come in at £300 (Skegness Town), £150 (rugby) and £100 (radio).