MPs were all in a lather at Westminster yesterday. Tuition fees? The Hutton Report? Nope, a hike in claimable expenses for MPs who choose to cycle to Parliament instead of driving. Ann Widdecombe, the svelte MP for Maidstone said: “If it is 20p a mile for a bicycle, how much for roller skates, how much for a pogo stick, and how much for shoe leather?

Ditch bikes, go to work on pogo-sticks, says MP

MPs are currently allowed to claim 7p per mile. The new rate – in line with government recommendations and ratified by the Inland Revenue – is to be 20p per mile.

This increase incensed MPs, Conservatives especially.

Ann Widdecombe – seen on an exercise bike in the ITV series about fat celebs – said: “It is difficult to see how a cyclist can clock up these sort of expenses. If it is 20p-a-mile for a bicycle, how much for roller skates, how much for a pogo stick, and how much for shoe leather?

Sir Teddy Taylor, the Conservative MP for Rochford, said: “I can understand the government wanting to encourage cycling, but this is over the top. At 20p-a-mile you could buy a dozen new bicycles a year. If this goes through, I’ve a good mind to charge 10p a mile for walking to the Commons.”

Even Boris Johnson, the most famous cycling MP, is against the increased. He said: “I am all for encouraging cycling, but not at taxpayers’ expense.”

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