Ian Paisley is the UK's fifth most expensive MP, setting the taxpayer back more than a quarter of a million pounds last year, new figures have revealed.
The DUP veteran was followed on the list of MPs with the highest levels of spending in 2019-20 by his party colleague, Jim Shannon. North Antrim MP Paisley cost £253,824 last year, while Stangford MP Shannon cost £252,298, according to the figures from the TaxPayers' Alliance. A DUP spokesman said: "All claims were properly approved by the authorities in line with their parliamentary duties. Both MPs use these allowances to provide a first-class constituency service."
The TaxPayers' Alliance said the total cost of MPs was up 6.47% last year to £127.6m, according to figures released yesterday by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
The average cost of an MP was £157,747 in the 2019-20 financial year, which included expenses claims for travel and food of around £6,903 for each member of parliament.
A further £718,733 was spent on hotel claims as part of the MPs' accommodation budget.
The current speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, is Britain's most expensive sitting MP. Last year his total business costs were £259,057, including £21,431 on travel and subsistence.
The least expensive MP was Kim Johnson, elected last year for Liverpool Riverside, with costs of £7,392 up to April 2020.
Health secretary Matt Hancock was the most expensive MP in the cabinet, with total costs of £225,305. This was compared to £174,454 for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and £164,545 for Sir Keir Starmer.
John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "While MPs must have the resources to do their jobs, many taxpayers will be worried about the growing cost of politics.
"The electorate expects politicians to stay grounded and keep costs under control, particularly the millions spent on travel and overnight expenses. With the economy and public finances in such dire straits, limiting their expenses claims where possible would be a welcome way for MPs to show that we're all in it together."
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