GWENT MPs’ expenses rose around 19 per cent in 2007/2008, with claims totalling almost £890,000.

Figures of MPs allowances and travel expenses were released by the UK parliament yesterday and show Newport East MP Jessica Morden claimed the most with a total of £167,060.

Ms Morden’s claims rose by around 25 per cent from £133,592 in 2006/2007, which she said was due to unused funds from that period being carried over into 2007/2008.

She said: “In this particular year, the fees office allowed me to transfer money I didn’t spend in the previous so I could use it on extra office provision, following the birth of my child.

“The money was spent on staffing and extra office provision. I take great pride in both, as they are there to serve the people of Newport East, and I want my constituents to benefit from the best service I can give them.”

MPs can ask for funds to be carried forward or draw an advance from the next year’s budget, but it is only allowed for specific purposes and must be approved by the Department of Resources.

Monmouth MP David Davies said the rise in his claims from £113,376 to £160,198 - around 41 per cent - was probably due to his no longer being a member of the Assembly.

Mr Davies said: “When I ceased to be a member of the Assembly, I made my claims under the government allowance. I claim no credit for the fact that my expenses were low when I was a member of the Assembly, because I only claimed the one lot of expenses.”

Don Touhig MP for Islwyn claimed a total of £157,499, up approximately 11 per cent from £142,386 in 2006/2007.

Torfaen representative Paul Murphy MP had an increase of around 16 per cent from £129,744 to £150,923 and Paul Flynn MP for Newport West claimed a total of £140,961, only a slight rise from £140,014 the previous year.

Dai Davies MP for Blaenau Gwent made the lowest claim of £119, 697, up around 26 per cent from 94,940 in 2006/2007.

The total claimed by MPs in Gwent was in 2007/08 was £896,337, compared to £754,051 in 2006/07.

A basic MPs salary is £63,291, which will go up to £64,766 with the 2.3 percent increase announced yesterday.