LIAM Byrne, MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, is facing calls for an inquiry into mounting allegations that he diverted public money intended for parliamentary duties into his mayoral election campaign – a move which would breach Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) regulations.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has written to IPSA demanding an urgent inquiry into Mr Byrne’s “alleged gross misuse of parliamentary expenses”.
In the letter, Bridgen states that it is unclear where the “huge resources” Byrne had put into three political campaigns since 2019 – two of which were non-parliamentary – had come from, “if not the taxpayer”.
The letter also references an unnamed local election candidate who claims Mr Byrne’s parliamentary staff were being made to “work full-time on the mayoral election”.
Another allegation said to be made to the Labour’s ruling NEC by a former staff member of Byrne’s, accused Byrnes of “using his publicly funded parliamentary staff to run his mayoral campaign”.
The staff member claims that their own wages were paid from Mr Byrne’s parliamentary budget, despite doing work that was “100 per cent non-parliamentary”.
A further allegation says Mr Byrne employed a “constituency assistant” through the House of Commons to manage his campaigns, and a head of research who “developed local policy” for his Mayoral campaign.
Mr Bridgen wrote: “I would contend that these are serious breaches of the regulations published by IPSA and I ask that these be investigated as a matter of urgency.”
The Labour Party have refuted the accusations, with a spokesperson saying: “All expenses are recorded in line with IPSA’s regulations and all campaign donations are within the rules and will be reported in the usual way.”