MACCLESFIELD MP Sir Nicholas Winterton has claimed the lowest amount of annual expenses of any Commons’ representative in the North West.
The Tory stalwart claimed £89,135 – £6,056 going on travel – between April 2007 and March 2008, new expenses figures from the Government have revealed.
He was the only MP of 31 across the region to fall under the £100,000 mark.
Sir Nick’s wife, MP for Congleton Lady Ann Winterton, was third lowest at £121,352, including travel, while MP for Rossendale and Darwen, Janet Anderson, topped the list with £173, 540.
Sir Nick said: "I can only say that I try to tackle matters of expenses in a responsible way, as I always have; I don’t spend any more money than is absolutely necessary to do the job expected of me by the people of Macclesfield."
When asked about his travel expenses, he said: "Yes, I believe I could cut down on the number of events I attend around Parliament and my constituency, which would cut down on my mileage. But I wouldn’t be doing the job the people of Macclesfield expect me to do. And I drive with my wife to and from London, which is vastly cheaper than the train, and I also subsidise my travel with my salary."
Among Sir Nick’s claims were staffing costs of £55,388, office running costs of £7,812, and £1,045 for stationery.
When it comes to claims for IT and computer allowance, Sir Nick accrued £919 costs, lower than hundreds of MPs.
He said: "My secretary is an expert in computing, and wonderfully useful, but I am a tactile person, not a technological person! I would much rather visit people face to face, than write an email and see a waterfall of paper print-outs come into the office."
When questioned about Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s recent claim for her husband’s pornographic films, Sir Nick said: "I don’t wish to make a comment as such. But I’m glad it’s not me!"