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Conservative MP Harriet Baldwin, who was recently promoted to the position of Minister for Africa in Theresa May’s botched reshuffle last week, attempted to charge the taxpayer for the £50 gift in 2013.
The revelation has only now surfaced following a Freedom of Information request submitted following Ms Baldwin’s promotion to the Tory Cabinet.
The new Conservative Minister for Africa is certainly no stranger to charging the taxpayer for whatever she thinks she can get away with, having claimed an astonishing £1.1 million in expenses in just seven years as an MP – at an average of £157,142 for every year she has been in office.
Ms Baldwin, who is the MP for West Worcestershire, attempted to charge the taxpayer for her £50 donation after attending the Worcestershire Women of the Year awards ceremony in 2013.
The event was held at St Richard’s Hospice, a charity in Worcestershire who care for 3,000 patients and families living with life-limiting illnesses.
Labour councillor Samantha Charles, who was Labour’s General Election candidate for West Worcestershire in 2017, was scathing about Ms Baldwin’s claim, stating:
Harriet Baldwin should immediately clarify why she felt it appropriate to claim back the donation she made to the hospice at the expense of the taxpayer.
We’ve all heard that charity starts at home and you have to look after number one, but in this instance it seems that Harriet Baldwin has taken this to the extreme.
However, Ms Baldwin hit back at the claims, defending her actions by arguing that her attempt to charge the taxpayer for a donation ‘was rejected by the independent body responsible for verifying expense claims.’
The new Minister for Africa, who stated upon her promotion that she was looking forward to finding “new ways to fight poverty, minimise threats and build mutual prosperity”, told The Telegraph that:
In 2013, I attended an event as the local MP for which there was a ticket charge. The claim was rejected by the independent body responsible for verifying expense claims.
I have every confidence in IPSA and the job it does delivering transparency to the way Members of Parliament carry out their duties. I make many donations to local charities but of course they are made from my own resources.
However, Ms Baldwin’s claim that she was supposedly charged for a ticket at the event is severely undermined by the fact that accompanying her ridiculous expenses claim, she actually included the thank you note given to her by a fundraiser at the event that thanked her for her ‘generosity’.
Amongst the incredible £1.1m of expenses claims she has managed to accrue in her 7 years as a Conservative MP, Baldwin found it necessary to charge the taxpayer £2.25 for a five mile car journey, as well as claiming back 60 payments of £2 or less – including one of just 45p for a one-mile car trip.
News of Ms Baldwin’s ridiculous expenses claims come as another Tory MP, Ben Bradley, has come under intense scrutiny following the emergence of a 2012 blog post in which he wrote that a ‘vast sea of unemployed wasters’ were claiming too much ‘taxpayers (sic) money’, and argued that such people should have vasectomies to stop them from breeding.
The hypocrisy in the Tory Party is utterly astounding. On one hand you have a Tory MP who now earns almost four times the average British wage charging the taxpayer for over a million pounds over the last seven years, including claims for every single ludicrous, trivial amount she can get away with. All whilst one of their other MPs was exposed attempting to blame the powerless and the poor for supposedly taking all the money, making the age-old Tory claim that everything is the fault of unemployed ‘scroungers and shirkers’.
The culture of greed at the very top of government has gone on for far too long. It needs exposing, and it needs to be eradicated in full this time.
The sooner we get this corrupt, self-serving Tory shambles out and vote in a government with the guts to actually change the shambolically self-serving rules implemented by the super-rich elite, the better.
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