A Westminster watchdog has docked the wages of Falkirk MP Eric Joyce in a dispute over travel and staff accommodation expenses.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) ruled that the 54-year-old, who is standing down at May’s General Election, must repay £12,919.61 after reviewing several of his previously submitted claims, some of which were paid on a special parliamentary credit card issued to MPs.
I will provide proof to the compliance officer that IPSA is wrongEric Joyce MP
The IPSA has revealed the amount now owed is £10,000 and is demanding it is repaid ahead of the election.
Mr Joyce has refused as he disputes the decision and has complained to the IPSA compliance officer, Peter Davis.
Due to the stand-off the standards authority has taken the unprecedented step of docking the MP’s salary in a bid to recoup part of the cash.
The MP told The Falkirk Herald: “The IPSA told me at the end of last year they were about to answer a Freedom of Information request to the effect that I had owed them thousands of pounds for over a year. I met the IPSA CEO immediately. He accepted that I had never been told but said I still owed the cash. He put the FOI reply out anyway.
“The IPSA said that because the election is so close I have to pay it immediately - I’ve refused until Peter Davis has confirmed IPSA is correct, or otherwise.
“As I’m refusing, they’re just docking a grand a month off my salary.
“The IPSA disputes that my office sought full advice from it prior to the claims beginning. I will provide proof to the compliance officer that IPSA is wrong, when he talks to me as part of his inquiry.
“The claims to back to 2012. There is no appeal mechanism within IPSA, no ombudsman can investigate. IPSA is not answerable to any other authority.”
A spokesman for IPSA said: “The MP has a duty to repay the sum due, and our duty is to ensure the taxpayer does not lose out.”
Mr Joyce was elected as a Labour MP in 2000 but resigned from the party in 2012 after he was charged with assault following an incident in a House of Commons bar.