Demand for probe into SNP MPs' expenses

Labour have called on Nicola Sturgeon to order an audit into the expenses of SNP MPs after it claimed the past year has seen a significant rise in the amount claimed for travel.

Alex Salmond said he was advised not to travel alone.

Ten Nationalist MPs claimed twice as much or more in travel costs for themselves and their staff in their first ten-and-a-half-months at Westminster as their Labour and Liberal Democrat predecessors did in the last full comparable year.

Figures published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority show that Alex Salmond claimed £48,470.66 for travel in 2015-16, while Malcolm Bruce claimed £22,394.07 in 2013-14.

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Mr Salmond said his travel costs had roughly doubled because the House of Commons Serjeant at Arms had advised him not to use public transport on his own on security grounds, forcing him to travel with a member of staff.

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MSPs claimed £12.2 million in expenses last year

The SNP said any increase was because its MPs were harder-working, travelling to and from their constituencies to take part in more Westminster debates and local events.

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “These figures show SNP MPs are milking the system for all it is worth and taking taxpayers for a ride. Nicola Sturgeon should order an internal audit of her MPs’ spending.

“At a time where local services are facing hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts her MPs are living the high life.”

An SNP spokesman said: “While Scottish Labour MPs were all but nearly wiped out at the last general election, SNP MPs have consistently worked harder than their predecessors with higher attendance rates in the House of Commons.

“The expenses include staff travel costs as well as MP travel to ensure constituents are better-represented.”

Top 10 Travel expenses claims:

1. Alex Salmond (SNP) - £48,1741
2. Angus MacNeil (SNP) - £47,899

3. Paul Monaghan (SNP) - £44,181

4. Jim Shannon (DUP) - £42,980

5. Steven Paterson (SNP) - £41,506

6. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (SNP) - £39,258

7. Brendan O’Hara (SNP) - £38,443
8. Alistair Carmichael (Lib Dems) - £36,764

9. Stewart McDonald (SNP) - £35,559

10. Joanna Cherry (SNP) - £35,197