sorry about the delay but I needed to check the pre release version with the online version – The pre release version was much better with a far fullers story, more MEPs mentioned and considerably more quotes from Sinclaire but having been bumped from last week due to a technicality I guess Guy was on weak ground to fight for the full 1,500 words!
At least this leaves him with enough for a double page spread adding in the future material already written.
EU cash snatchers
Tory and Labour MEPs in sneaky new exes ploy
The allowance from struggling taxpayers is supposed to cover the cost of them attending official business in Brussels.
But our investigation found these grasping Euro MPs didn’t stick around.
Instead they jumped into a plush official car, with their suitcases in tow, and arrived at the Eurostar terminal less than 45 MINUTES later before heading back to Blighty.
And they’re not alone. Hordes of foreign MEPs are at it too.
This will outrage hard-working Brits who hand over £8.5BILLION a year to Europe – £137 per person – to pay for these pampered politicians. And it will be a huge embarrassment for Prime Minister David Cameron who in 2008 stepped in to clean up his party’s expenses system in Brussels.
He said at the time: “Just as I expect our MPs to adhere to the highest standards, so must MEPs. The taxpaying public have a right to know how their money is being spent and politicians have a duty to ensure it is spent properly.”
Disgusted West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire agreed to expose her fellow Euro politicians – who earn £80,955 a year NOT including expenses.
Working with her, we filmed on Fridays in the parliament buildings of Brussels in Belgium and Strasbourg, France. We found members from all over Europe exploiting the signing-in system.
Greedy MEPs were QUEUEING outside the Attendance Office even before it opened at 7am.
Of the 160 Euro MPs we filmed signing in before 10am, more than a third – 54 – arrived with overnight bags and suitcases. At least 25 left parliament shortly after.
Of these, we caught nine arriving at the airport shortly after, ready to fly home, as well as our Brits on Eurostar.Ms Sinclaire, who runs campaigns from her website www.yourmep.org, said: “It’s a disgrace. On a Friday, when parliament is virtually closed, MEPs still sign in for their £258 and then head straight for the exit doors.
“Many people don’t earn £258 a week, but some MEPs claim it for a day when they’re in for barely an hour. Taxpayers should know how their cash is being spent.”
In Brussels, East of England Euro MP Mr Sturdy, 66, signed for his daily expenses at just 7:18am. And balding South East MEP Mr Skinner, 51, was close behind his pal, signing in at 7.40am.
The pair arrived at Brussels Midi station together at 8.04am, jumping out of a chauffeur-driven people carrier in good time for the 8.29am Eurostar. Two hours later we caught them at London’s St Pancras station.
The Brits were caught on camera two days ago, but on other days of filming we found a string of MEPs turning up early to claim their cash in Brussels.
It was still barely light on January 28 when Polish Euro MP Jolanta Hibner, 60, wheeled her suitcase into parliament to sign in at 7.58am. We pictured her at Brussels Airport just 22 minutes later, ready to fly home.
Another Polish MEP, Adam Gierek, 72, signed in at 8.01am with a colleague. We captured him stepping out of a chauffeur-driven car at the airport at 10:51am. Then Portuguese Euro MP Ilda Figueiredo 62, signed the register at 8:20am before being spotted at departures at 10:04am.
And Spanish MEP, purple-haired Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, 35, wheeled her suitcase to the Attendance Office at 9:56am, before being seen at the airport at 10:20am.
In Strasbourg, despite screens showing no official business on January 21, dozens of MEPs claimed expenses in the early hours.
We caught Polish Euro MP Danuta Jazlowiecka, 53, signing in at 9.21am, wheeling a suitcase. Then, at 9:42am – just 21 minutes later – she arrived at Strasbourg airport.
There are only 134 days of official parliamentary business – which does NOT include Fridays – in a year, worth £34,538 in daily allowances. By also signing in on the 37 Fridays, each MEP can trouser £9,537 extra.
Mr Sturdy said he worked late on Thursday night and that a power failure at King’s Cross would have made getting home difficult. He added: “I’m signing in because I’m doing my job. As vice chair of international trade I have a lot on at the moment.” He admitted he “often” signed in on Fridays.
Mr Skinner said: “It is often the case I will work six days on the trot, some of which will be spent in the constituency. My first duty is to represent people across the South-East which is sometimes best done face-to-face”
But EU rules state the allowance which they claimed is supposed to cover expenses like accommodation and meals incurred by attending official meetings away from their home country on the day signed for.
Ms Jazlowiecka’s aide told us: “It is not breaking rules to sign in and leave.” And Ms Figueiredo’s spokesman said it was up to parliament to determine what she could claim.
To view the original sign up at CLICK HERE
I have confirmed the text on line with Guy Basnett, which was as per my copy but the print version is expected to be a bit different!