The Westminster expenses watchdog has apologised after announcing a Northern Ireland MP had submitted a claim for just one penny.
Lady Sylvia Hermon, independent MP for North Down, was blasted after the “claim” for a telephone bill was revealed by the latest batch of Westminster expenses, from March 2011.
But the error was revealed in an email from Scott Woolveridge, the director of operations at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). He wrote: “Let me begin by confirming that you did not submit an expense claim to IPSA for 1p.”
The mix-up was due to a 1p difference between a claim and the receipt provided by Lady Hermon. IPSA staff created a new claim for the difference rather than investigating further in an attempt to save time.”
Mr Woolveridge added: “I accept, entirely, your position that there were other ways to handle this matter which would have been more effective and, of course, offer you my apologies for the way we have dealt with this.”
Lady Sylvia said: “At no stage have I ever submitted a claim for a 1p phonecall, and reports that I have done so are wholly untrue.”