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BORIS JOHNSON’s broadband minister is one of dozens of Tory MPs who enjoy free home internet at the taxpayer’s expense — despite the party opposing free broadband for all.
The Prime Minister dubbed Labour’s plans to extend free full-fibre broadband to every home in Britain as part of a nationalised service as a “crazed communist scheme.”
But the latest expenses records show that 45 Conservative MPs have collectively claimed more than £12,000 in 2018-19 in expenses to cover the cost of broadband in their second homes.
They include the government’s Digital & Broadband Minister Matt Warman, who claimed £582.65 between April 2018 and March 2019.
Reacting to Labour’s internet offer to voters, Mr Warman wrote: “Ideology above delivery, from broadband to the NHS.”
Claiming expenses for home internet is within the rules for MPs who represent constituencies outside London and require accommodation near Parliament.
But the figures lay bare the Tories’ hypocrisy in attacking Labour’s offer of free broadband for all if they win the election on Thursday.
Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett told the Star: “It is the height of hypocrisy to have free broadband for yourself while denying it to others.”
Mr Warman wasn’t the only minister at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) asking the taxpayer to pick up the tab for their internet use.
Faversham MP Helen Whately, another minister at the department responsible for broadband — who said Labour’s plan would “take us back to the 1970s” — claimed £316.84 for her home broadband and phone bills in 2018-19.
It means that half of Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan’s ministers at the DCMS have benefited from free internet, despite Ms Morgan denouncing Labour’s policy a “fantasy plan” that would “cost hard-working taxpayers.”
Scotland Secretary David Mundell is another high-profile minister to benefit from subsidised internet, claiming £192.35 for “hyperoptic broadband” at his London accommodation.
Christopher Chope claimed the most for net and phone services among Conservative MPs, clawing back £776.69 for line rental and broadband. He must have been at it all night.
Owen Paterson, who called Labour’s policy “nonsense,” claimed £330 for Sky broadband. Simon Hoare, who said Labour’s plan was “bonkers,” claimed £588. And Harriet Baldwin, who criticised Labour for giving “free broadband to Premier League footballers,” claimed £496.26.
Overall, Conservative MPs gobbled up £12,479 of taxpayers’ cash to fund their internet and phone services.
These include three who have since left the Conservative party or lost the whip: Guto Bebb, Sarah Wollaston and Rory Stewart.
But the sum does not include MPs who claim expenses for the cost of internet in their office.
The Conservative Party had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.
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