MPs’ expenses REVEALED: Labour politician spends tax-payers’ money on ‘VOICE COACHING’ | Politics | News – UK

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Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne Central and Shadow Minister for industrial strategy, received vocal training from Annemette Verspeak, a leading voice coach who has previously worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Opera House.

Ms Verspeak has also taught voice and singing at numerous schools, including the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Thopps Kleinkunst school in Amsterdam.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) published further records which revealed the Labour MP made £1,142 worth of claims for “media training” with two separate organisations since 2016.

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Ms Onwurah’s latest claim was lodged in May, and was recorded as “voice coaching” rather than “media training”.

Commenting to the Daily Telegraph on why the claim was lodged as “voice coaching”, she said: “Not sure. Maybe because that’s how she describes herself or her business, but it was definitely media training.”

The revelations come as IPSA published its latest report on MPs expenses for April and May.

Among the expenses which raised concern was Conservative MP Pauline Latham’s claim for a part refund of a London congestion charge fine.

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Commenting on the claim, Ms Latham said: “As I probably have only driven five or six times in eight years, I do not have an account with TFL, and was not aware of that and IPSA has always paid it before.”

A spokesman from IPSA added: “An MP who was fined for not paying a penalty charge can still claim up to £14.

“They could also claim £10.50 or £11.50.

“Any additional penalty charge must be paid by the MP and would not be reimbursed.”

IPSA is an independent body which was created by the Parliamentary Standards Act in 2009, largely in response to the parliamentary expenses scandal of the same year.

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Among the most contentious expenses revealed in 2009, was Conservative MP Douglas Hogg’s claim for the cost of cleaning his moat on his country estate.

Mr Hogg was MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, but stood down at the 2010 General Election following public outcry.

He was nevertheless made a life peer in the 2015 Dissolution Honours, allowing him to take up a seat in the House of Lords.

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