Four MPs forced to repay driving fines claimed on expenses

Amanda Solloway - Richard Townshend
Amanda Solloway - Richard Townshend

Four MPs have been ordered by a parliamentary watchdog to repay driving fines that they claimed on expenses.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has now written to the four MPs, which also includes one junior minister, ordering them to repay, while reiterating the expenses rules.

While it is not known the reasons for the penalty charges for the four MPs, penalty charge notices can be handed out for several offences, such as parking on double red lines, driving in bus lanes and wrongly using disabled bays.

The action comes after an investigation by The Independent found these MPs had wrongly claimed for hundreds of pounds after being issued with driving penalty notices.

This included Amanda Solloway, who is currently a junior minister in the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, who claimed for an £80 fixed penalty notice back in July 2020, listing it under “MP travel expenses”. A source close to Ms Solloway told The Independent that these had been claimed in error and had been paid back.

Two other Conservative MPs - Bim Afolami and Simon Hoare - were also found to have expensed multiple fines from Transport for London.

Four claims

The Independent reported that Mr Hoare, who is MP for Dorset and current chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee chair, had claimed four times for £80 fines issued in November 2019.

Mr Afolami claimed through his expenses on two occasions for £80 fines in December 2021.

He told the Telegraph that this was the result of an “administrative mix-up” where his IPSA card was registered to his TfL congestion charge account and it was used to pay the penalty by mistake.

He said: “I would have never knowingly paid for penalties with the card - when I found out this had happened, I repaid the £160 immediately.”

Dave Doogan, the SNP MP for Angus, claimed for a £160 fine in January 2022.

All of the expenses were approved at the time by IPSA but it has since admitted it was wrong to do so.

An IPSA spokesman said: “MPs are not allowed to claim for penalty charges and fines under IPSA rules. Paragraph 3.26 of the Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs clearly states that these fines are not claimable.

“Congestion charge can be claimed by MPs from outside London who drive into central London for work.

“IPSA’s checks failed in some cases to identify these claims and some of them were paid. We will contact MPs and ask them to repay, where appropriate. We have changed our process to ensure any future such claims are not paid and will reiterate the scheme rules to MPs.”

Mr Hoare and Mr Doogan have been contacted for comment.