A LABOUR MP is facing a backlash for putting a Remembrance Sunday poppy wreath on her expenses, expecting taxpayers to pay £17 for the floral tribute.
Marsha De Cordova submitted the claim under “office costs” with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the watchdog for MPs’ expenses. The 43-year-old is the shadow minister for disabled people and a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn. The expense claim, which was logged in November last year, has come to light as the country prepares to honour the fallen men and women by falling silent at 11am on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.
The MP for Battersea issued an apology and insisted it was an “administrative error”.
Tory MP Bob Stewart hit out at Ms De Cordova, saying her decision to claim back the money for the wreath was “wrong”.
The Beckenham MP is a former British Army Officer who served as Commander of United Nations troop sin Bosnia during the war in the early 1990s.
He told the Sun: “It was totally wrong of her to claim for a poppy wreath.
“Remembrance Sunday is about remembering those who have fallen in battle for whatever country they fought for as young men and women.
“It is wrong to claim for a wreath to commemorate.”
Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded British troops in Afghanistan, said MPs should not underestimate the importance and significance of the poppy and pay for tributes “rather than making the taxpayer fork out”.
And John O’Connell, chief executive at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, also joined in the chorus of those condemning the claim.
He said: “Taxpayers should not be footing the bill for such ridiculous expense claims from already well-paid politicians.
“No employee would ever ask their boss to pay for a Remembrance poppy or wreath.
“All MPs must stop this petty practice.”
Ms De Cordova, who has been an MP since 2017, is running for re-election in the marginal constituency which had been a Conservative stronghold since 2010.
She said: “This should not have happened and was the result of an administrative error.
“I am deeply sorry and I would like to put on record my utmost respect for all those who have sacrificed their lives in armed conflict.”
People across the UK will this weekend take part in ceremonies to commemorate the war dead.
On Sunday Prince Charles will lay a wreath at the foot of the Cenotaph in Whitehall on behalf of the Queen.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expected to attend the memorial event.