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Labour MP Matt Western defends claiming expenses for bike rides around his constituency | Politics News

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An MP who claims 20p a mile for cycling around his constituency has dismissed criticism of him as a “non-story”.

Labour’s Matt Western said the money was “legitimate” and that by not using a car he was doing the “right thing”.

The Warwick and Leamington MP hit back after an article in The Sun revealed he had claimed £8.60 for nineteen bike rides on trips around his local area.

Parliament’s expenses watchdog says MPs can claim expenses of 20p per mile for official business.

But The Sun quoted a fellow MP as saying: “Your legs may hurt a little bit after going for a bike ride but it’s not like putting petrol in your car.”

The newspaper said records show Mr Western claimed £1.40 for one seven-mile journey.

He insisted the expenses were “legitimate” and that cycling was better for the environment and saved taxpayers’ money.

MPs are entitled to 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles they travel, and 25p thereafter, while those opting for a motorbike can claim 24p per mile.

Mr Western complained that the article was written in the week that saw Leamington experience the UK’s worst air quality.

He added: “It’s important to send a signal out that you’re using a bike. It’s a paltry sum but better to encourage MPs to use their bicycles.”

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