A Conservative Party MP has complained about spending £175 on wreaths for Remembrance Sunday, it has been reported.
The 52-year-old Tory MP for North West Leicestershire made the comments when petitioning a court to stop his £1,100-a-month payments to his ex-wife Jacqueline and their two children.
He told Nottingham Crown Court his divorce had left him almost penniless, and complained about expenses that he was unable to recover as an MP.
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The Daily Mirror reported that he told the court: ‘On Remembrance Sunday I buy five wreaths for the five main services, I will attend three and I will read the names at all of them.
‘It is now de rigeur that MPs can’t put in claims for wreaths or travel. £175 on wreaths it will cost me, £200 [including travel] to be the MP of North West Leicestershire on that Remembrance Sunday.
‘Something I do gladly but which is not appreciated by the general public.
‘So the remuneration of an MP is not the same as if I was working for the Co-op. There are huge costs to being an MP which can never be claimed for. I have not had a holiday this year.’
However, his ex-wife told the judge her own income is only £8,000 a year, a tenth of Mr Bridgen’s, and that she ‘wouldn’t know how to manage’ without his monthly payments.
She said Mr Bridgen has spent thousands on gifts for his new wife, Serbian opera singer Nevena Pavlovic, 38, who he married earlier this year, including a £3,000 engagement ring.
Mr Bridgen claimed his divorce had cost him more than £1 million in payments and that he had to sell his £2.2 million home at a cut price.
He claimed the divorce had cost him more than £500,000 in legal fees and he had been frozen out of his family farm business by his brother.
‘There is no more insecure employment than politics,’ he said.
But Judge Richard MacMillan told him: ‘You chose to go into politics, Mr Bridgen.’
The judge ruled that £7,673 of missed payments did not have to be paid after the court heard Jacqueline is now living with a Mr Gittins at an address in Packington, meaning her circumstances had changed.
The couple married in 2000 but split up five years ago.