Lincoln MP Karl McCartney refused to comment on reports that he claimed £21,600 “for administrative services” from a firm founded by a campaign donor – Anagallis Communications – between January to June last year.
Invoices disclosed through a Freedom of Information request from Business Insider revealed that the services were provided at £200 a day plus VAT.
In January 2020, McCartney claimed for £7,200 towards them. In February and March 2020 he claimed a further £4,800 each, and in June last year he claimed for another £4,800.
No rules appear to exist explicitly forbidding MPs from handing contracts run their Parliamentary offices to companies run by individuals who give them political donations.
Although there appears to be no suggestion of wrongdoing, it does raise the question about the relationship between MPs and campaign donors.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority handbook on expenses states that MPs must act with ‘probity’. IPSA regulates and administers the business costs and decides the pay and pensions of the 650 elected MPs and their staff in the UK.
The Freedom of Information request by Business Insider revealed that Anagallis provided the following: “Administrative office and external meeting support services, high-level meeting attendance, strategy formulation and participation in London and Lincoln and daily media management.
“Administration of various requirements to support the Member of Parliament in securing successful outcomes for local issues and projects and constituency casework issues.”
The report adds that there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by McCartney or Nigel Szembel, who is the sole director, shareholder and CEO of Cambridgeshire-based Anagallis Communications.
Szembel gave McCartney £4,000 in early 2010 before his successful campaign saw him take the seat from his Labour rival at the time Gillian Merron.
His claims have also been criticised by the TaxPayers’ Alliance and other transparency organisations, but when The Lincolnite contacted him directly about it he did not wish to provide any comment on the record.
The Lincolnite also contacted Nigel Szembel for comment, but have not yet had a response.
James Roberts, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told Insider: “MPs should not be paying for professional services from firms that have made political donations to their election campaigns.”
Karl ousted Karen Lee to gain the Lincoln seat in 2019 and since that time he has spent over £100,000 on staffing alone – his business costs are publicly available to view here.