Angus MacDonald, the SNP MSP for Falkirk East, has racked up an eye-watering bill of £77,038.86 over a seven-and-a-half year period on expensive Edinburgh hotels and meal expenses, figures from the Scottish Parliament show.
The updated figure means that the politician is fast approaching £100,000 in accommodation and overnight stay expenses, despite living less than 30 miles away from Holyrood.
Mr MacDonald, whose constituency office is just 26 miles away from Holyrood, spent a total of £13,792.05 on hotels and meal allowances in 2018/19. The MSP’s spending on hotels and meal allowances increased by £5,127.87 over the course of 2018/19, versus spending from 2012/13.
The un-named hotel costs around £150 per night.
In stark contrast, the Falkirk West MSP, Michael Matheson, spent just £312.00 on accommodation in Edinburgh during 2018/19, but is also entitled to a ministerial car to take him home.
MSPs are allowed Edinburgh travel and accommodation expenses, provided that they are required to stay in Edinburgh in connection with the performance of parliamentary duties. But as some MSPs have proven, not all visits require overnight stays.
Mr MacDonald, who controversially billed taxpayers £61.99 in 2016 for a book called “Northern Neighbours: Scotland and Norway Since 1800”, has now amassed a total expenses bill of £218,412.41 since 2012. These expenses include a staff cost provision, staff travel and office expenses, on top of additional expenditure.
The MSP for Falkirk East was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011. His constituency office is a 40-minute drive along the M9 from the Scottish Parliament. Ironically, travel was registered as an activity of personal interest on his MSP profile.
While these figures do raise some questions, there are other politicians who have spent far greater sums of public money. Click here to see who has billed taxpayers the most.