Accommodation expenses pledge made in 2010 but not at subsequent elections says Crawley Tory

Conservative Henry Smith will represent Crawley again
Conservative Henry Smith will represent Crawley again

Claiming accommodation expenses recently did not break a campaign pledge because it was made before the 2010 general election, Conservative Henry Smith has said.

Mr Smith has represented Crawley in Parliament since 2010 when he took the seat off Labour after finishing a runner-up in both 2001 and 2005.

Prior to the 2010 election Labour incumbent Laura Moffatt stepped down, and in a campaign leaflet Mr Smith wrote: “The retiring Labour MP for Crawley rented a second home at public expense in London just 30 miles from Crawley for several years. I don’t think that’s right and I pledged not to do so if elected.”

However in 2017/18 Mr Smith claimed £8,882.57 in accommodation expenses and £12,561.41 in 2018/19 having not claimed anything in this category in previous years, according to figures published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

In response Mr Smith said: “All of my expenses in carrying out MP duties are pre-approved by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority including accommodation as the role often entails late meetings.

“I only use allowances where necessary and have one of the lowest claims amongst MPs overall.”

When pressed on his 2010 pledge, Mr Smith added: “That was a pledge I made for the 2010 general election and followed-through on but was not made at either the 2015 or 2017 elections.”

He was asked whether the expenses related to a rented property in London on his constituency, but did not respond to this question.