When his £3,604.99 claim for a television, DVD and digital radio was queried, he wrote: “As a Scottish MP, I can only keep in touch with events during the day, which might affect my constituents, by tuning into the Scottish radio stations which the digital set provides.
“Likewise, I record the Scottish TV news and Scottish current affairs programmes, which feature issues in Scotland and in south Edinburgh. In a cramped London flat, flat-screen TV is the sensible option.”
Unimpressed, the fees office wrote back four days later to tell him it had not changed its mind: “Whilst we understand your explanation for the need for the purchase of these items, it is the level of your purchases that remains under question. “An amount of £3,604.99 is not considered to be an appropriate use of public funds when other more reasonably priced options are available.”
I’ve just had a look on Amazon.co.uk, and they do a 19″ flat screen TV for £194. Of course, they also do much larger flat screen TVs, but you wouldn’t want a big one in a small flat, would you? I wonder what Griffiths did — did he walk into a shop and ask “what’s the most expensive TV you’ve got, ‘cos I’m buying it on expenses?”
Edinburgh South is one of the most marginal seats in the country — Griffiths’ majority is 405 — and this is got going to improve his changes of retaining the seat.