West Yorkshire MPs’ unusual gifts

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First class train travel, £1,100 worth of free Christmas cards and a trip to see the Dalai Lama.

This unusual ‘gift list’ reveals just some of the items and facilities received by MPs in West Yorkshire over the past year.

Under House of Commons rules, members of Parliament must declare donations, hospitality or other financial income.

The latest Members’ Interests register reveals that MPs in our area received thousands of pounds both in cash and in kind.

Fabian Hamilton, Labour MP for Leeds North East, declared a trip to India, where he met the exiled Dalai Lama. The £875.22 visit was paid for by the Tibet Society UK and the Tibetan Parliament.

Pudsey Tory MP Stuart Andrew registered a trip for him and his partner to Kenya. Funded by Virgin Atlantic and the Free the Children organisation, the trip cost £6,530.

Fellow Tory Alec Shelbrooke, MP for Elmet and Rothwell, declared £2,000 worth of hospitality in the form of tickets to the Variety Club golden jubilee dinner at Harewood House.

Labour’s Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West, earned £750 from taking part in opinion polls but donated the sum to charity. She also declared £2,500 worth of free printing, £1,100 in Christmas cards and a £1,250 trip to Israel.

Hilary Benn, Labour MP for Leeds Central, earned £1,800 for making speeches to the National School of Government. He also declared that he employed his wife, Sally Clark, as a part-time research assistant.

Lib Dem Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland earned £450 from opinion polls, £250 from the Daily Mirror News Group and £2,750 for a regular column in the Morning Advertiser.

He also received £4,000 from the Catholic Bishops Conference to pay for an intern and he went on a £1,543 trip to the Faroe Islands for an All-Party Parliamentary Group visit.

Labour’s Ed Balls, MP for Morley and Outwood, received £1,000 in payment for an article for Associated Newspapers, which he in turn donated to charity. He also declared a £2,500 trip to speak at a meeting in New York, sponsored by the Economist magazine.

He received almost £60,000 from PricewaterhouseCoopers to pay for an analyst to support his front bench role.

Mr Balls’ wife Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, benefited from a £9,100 donation from Barbara Follett to the Labour Party, which was spent on funding a member of staff.

Practising barrister and Dewsbury Tory MP Simon Reevell declared £68,550 in earnings from his profession and £2,000 worth of first class train travel from Grand Central Trains.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh earned £625 from opinion polls, which she donated to charity or her local Labour party association. Labour Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett declared a rental income on a home in London.

Labour East Leeds MP George Mudie and Labour Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood had nothing to declare.

vicki.robinson@ypn.co.uk

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