Jonathan Edwards MP has said the decision to allow members of parliament to claim expenses on their Christmas parties this year is “wrong.”

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) received much criticism for saying MPs could charge taxpayers for their parties during the cost-of-living crisis.

The guidance said the MPs could claim on food, drink and festivities, but alcohol could not be included in the ‘hospitality’ expenses claim.

Many members of parliament contacted the body, saying "they have never made such claims in the past and have no intention of doing so in the future."

One MP who opposed the decision was Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr.

He said: "I am generally a big supporter of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, moving away decisions over pay and expenses from politicians to an independent body has been a good development.

“However, I think they have got this rule change wrong and I certainly will not be using expenses to fund Christmas festivities."


The watchdog's chief executive Ian Todd said: "We got the messaging wrong by allowing the impression to form that this is what MPs were wanting to do, rather than our interpretation of the discretion available under the existing rules.

"We are an independent body and we make our own decisions but, occasionally, like everyone, we make mistakes.

"I would like to apologise to those MPs and their staff who have had to deal with phone calls, e-mails and, in some cases, abuse as a result of our guidance. They did not write the guidance or influence its contents.

"In issuing it we also failed to recognise the public mood at a time of severe economic and financial pressures. I am sorry for that."

Members of Parliament have been told to be wary of the guidance and mindful of the cost-of-living crisis when claiming expenses.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson said that MPs will have to "justify all spending to their constituents."

Labour MP Jess Phillips called the guidance “irresponsible,” while ex-cabinet minister David Davis said the watchdog had "missed the mood of the age."