Suella Braverman did not claim parliamentary expenses to pay her parents’ utility bills

27 April 2023
What was claimed

Suella Braverman has claimed £25,000 of expenses to pay her parents’ energy bills.

Our verdict

False. The payments were claimed in relation to her own homes and are fully allowed within the parliamentary rules.

A series of Facebook posts claim that Home Secretary Suella Braverman used public funds to pay the energy bills on her parents’ home. 

The posts read: "Suella Braverman used £25K of expenses to pay her parents Energy Bills for 5 years when she occasionally stayed there rent free. And she calls other people scroungers." 

The claims appear to have originated from an article published in the Mirror newspaper on 2 April 2023, which reported that Ms Braverman has claimed around £25,000 in expenses over the past five years to cover energy and other costs for her homes in and around London while staying rent-free at her parents’ house when she visits her constituency.

According to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the independent body responsible for MPs’ expenses, such expenses payments are available to all MPs who represent constituencies outside London to prevent them from being “out of pocket” because they have to run two homes—one in their constituency and another in London to provide easy access to the Houses of Parliament. 

IPSA’s records show that that Ms Braverman claimed £22,735 in accommodation expenses between 2018 and 2023, 

The Facebook posts suggest the money is being paid to Ms Braverman’s parents. However, the Mirror article makes it clear that the money being claimed was for utility bills at Ms Braverman’s own homes, not the home of her parents which is located in her constituency of Fareham, Hampshire. During the period in question, the article states that Ms Braverman has claimed expenses for her family home in Hertfordshire, and previously for homes in London, but not in respect of her parents’ home. 

In her 2018-19 commentary to IPSA—the most recent available—Ms Braverman wrote: "I ceased to claim for the rental of my Fareham property in 2017 and claim solely for the utility bills associated with my London home. I do not claim for any costs at my Fareham home."

If she did not stay with her parents in Fareham, Ms Braverman would be entitled to rent a property there and to claim expenses of up to £17,840 per year. MPs can only claim expenses relating to one property

Although some commentators quoted by the Mirror claimed she was exploiting a loophole, the payments she reclaims are fully within the current rules.

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