Bishop Auckland MP tops claims for first class travel

Helen Goodman

Helen Goodman

First published in News by , Reporter (Barnard Castle & Teesdale)

BISHOP Auckland MP Helen Goodman has submitted more claims for first class rail travel this year than any other member of parliament, according to reports this weekend.

The Sunday Telegraph claimed Ms Goodman was one of more than 180 MPs who are exploiting a loophole in House of Commons rules which normally require members to travel by standard class.

According to the report, Ms Goodman has claimed for 49 first class tickets, totalling £4,700.

The claims comply with the rules because MPs can travel first class if their ticket is cheaper than the standard “anytime” fare – the most expensive standard class fare available for short notice journeys.

Buying a first class ticket well in advance can work out cheaper than the “anytime” ticket bought at short notice.

Ms Goodman said: “All my tickets are cheaper or equal to the standard fare, so there have been no excessive claims or waste of taxpayers’ money.

“My constituency is 300 miles from London and my constituents expect to be able to see me each week.

“The Telegraph are trying to distract attention from the disastrous effect this government is having on the country.”

The spotlight was turned on rail fares after the row over Chancellor George Osborne sitting in a first class carriage with a standard ticket.

Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “It is is extremely rare for first class to really be the most affordable option.

"If MPs can get themselves organised to order a first class ticket in advance, they should be able to order a standard class ticket in plenty of time as well and it will almost always be cheaper.

“If standard class travel isn't good enough for MPs, particularly the transport ministers responsible for the service, it isn't good enough for ordinary commuters who pay for their own tickets.”

Comments (8)

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7:07pm Sun 21 Oct 12

Idontknowaboutyoubut says...

Sadly,I am no longer shocked by such revelations.I am a Labour supporter. All of my adult life,I have voted that way,and now I find that I can no longer vote for anyone who considers themselves above the likes of you and
me,the ordinary plebs.That appears to rule out pretty much everyone but the Monster Raving Loony party.Any chance of moving the Scottish border south to the Yorkshire border?
Sadly,I am no longer shocked by such revelations.I am a Labour supporter. All of my adult life,I have voted that way,and now I find that I can no longer vote for anyone who considers themselves above the likes of you and me,the ordinary plebs.That appears to rule out pretty much everyone but the Monster Raving Loony party.Any chance of moving the Scottish border south to the Yorkshire border? Idontknowaboutyoubut
  • Score: 1

8:22pm Sun 21 Oct 12

Voice-of-reality says...

Perhaps paying all of that 'ill-gotten' money into the Shildon HSBC would have been more useful Helen - still, good to know you have the general public as a cash-machine
Perhaps paying all of that 'ill-gotten' money into the Shildon HSBC would have been more useful Helen - still, good to know you have the general public as a cash-machine Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 1

11:27pm Sun 21 Oct 12

M C says...

"Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “It is is extremely rare for first class to really be the most affordable option. "

I travel by train every few months. On two occasions that I can recall in the last year or so a first class ticket has been cheaper than a standard class one on the same train. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
"Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “It is is extremely rare for first class to really be the most affordable option. " I travel by train every few months. On two occasions that I can recall in the last year or so a first class ticket has been cheaper than a standard class one on the same train. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. M C
  • Score: 0

11:38am Mon 22 Oct 12

Idontknowaboutyoubut says...

M C wrote:
"Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “It is is extremely rare for first class to really be the most affordable option. "

I travel by train every few months. On two occasions that I can recall in the last year or so a first class ticket has been cheaper than a standard class one on the same train. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
I find it hard to believe that,on 49 occasions,last year,it was cheaper,or the same cost as standard fare,to travel in First Class.
The sad truth is that MPs do,by and large,consider themselves a cut above us mere"oicks"
[quote][p][bold]M C[/bold] wrote: "Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “It is is extremely rare for first class to really be the most affordable option. " I travel by train every few months. On two occasions that I can recall in the last year or so a first class ticket has been cheaper than a standard class one on the same train. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.[/p][/quote]I find it hard to believe that,on 49 occasions,last year,it was cheaper,or the same cost as standard fare,to travel in First Class. The sad truth is that MPs do,by and large,consider themselves a cut above us mere"oicks" Idontknowaboutyoubut
  • Score: 0

11:45am Mon 22 Oct 12

Idontknowaboutyoubut says...

I first encountered this attitude when living in Cheshire,when my then Constituency MP,Nicholas Winterton,was renowned for his love of !st class,and was quite open about not wishing to rub shoulders with the "Great Unwashed"(us)
I first encountered this attitude when living in Cheshire,when my then Constituency MP,Nicholas Winterton,was renowned for his love of !st class,and was quite open about not wishing to rub shoulders with the "Great Unwashed"(us) Idontknowaboutyoubut
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Mon 22 Oct 12

st-george1 says...

More claims for first class rail travel this year than any other MP by deliberately exploiting a loophole in the rules … surely Labour MPs don’t do things like that …
According to the report, Ms Goodman claimed for 49 FIRST CLASS TICKETS to cover MAXIMUM 34 WEEKS OF PARLIAMENTARY SITTINGS, totalling £4,700 this year but she says her constituency is 300 miles from London …well its not … its only 220 miles, give or take 20-30 miles and she says her constituents expect to be able to see her each week … really !
49 journeys to attend maximum 34 weeks of parliament being open … 16 more journeys more than requirement assuming 100% attendance, so she is on a train to London nearly twice a week !!!
She’ll be blaming the Conservatives for the loophole now that we know she’s top of the list.
More claims for first class rail travel this year than any other MP by deliberately exploiting a loophole in the rules … surely Labour MPs don’t do things like that … According to the report, Ms Goodman claimed for 49 FIRST CLASS TICKETS to cover MAXIMUM 34 WEEKS OF PARLIAMENTARY SITTINGS, totalling £4,700 this year but she says her constituency is 300 miles from London …well its not … its only 220 miles, give or take 20-30 miles and she says her constituents expect to be able to see her each week … really ! 49 journeys to attend maximum 34 weeks of parliament being open … 16 more journeys more than requirement assuming 100% attendance, so she is on a train to London nearly twice a week !!! She’ll be blaming the Conservatives for the loophole now that we know she’s top of the list. st-george1
  • Score: 0

7:28pm Mon 22 Oct 12

stevegg says...

2nd class travel is only for the PLEBS. were all in this together remember, the gravy train rolls on!!!
2nd class travel is only for the PLEBS. were all in this together remember, the gravy train rolls on!!! stevegg
  • Score: 1

5:30pm Wed 24 Oct 12

frankyboy says...

"Buying a first class ticket well in advance can work out cheaper than the “anytime” ticket bought at short notice."
Yes but it is far more expensive than buying a Standard Class ticket well in advance. So if Helen Goodman can plan her diary well enough to buy tickets in advance, why can't she buy such tickets as Standard Class?
Because the MPs expenses policy allows otherwise; if you are 'clever' enough to book in advance you can nearly always get away with First Class travel at our expense. Abuse of the taxpayer - they'll never learn will they?
And as for 'my constituents expect to see me each week', this is a daft comment. If they do, then travel by train each week to see them. Standard Class - booked well in advance.
"Buying a first class ticket well in advance can work out cheaper than the “anytime” ticket bought at short notice." Yes but it is far more expensive than buying a Standard Class ticket well in advance. So if Helen Goodman can plan her diary well enough to buy tickets in advance, why can't she buy such tickets as Standard Class? Because the MPs expenses policy allows otherwise; if you are 'clever' enough to book in advance you can nearly always get away with First Class travel at our expense. Abuse of the taxpayer - they'll never learn will they? And as for 'my constituents expect to see me each week', this is a daft comment. If they do, then travel by train each week to see them. Standard Class - booked well in advance. frankyboy
  • Score: 0

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