In May, Steve Baker claimed that he had got clearance from the Independent Parliamentary Standard Authority to use his Parliamentary allowance to launch a study into privatising Wycombe hospital. It appears this claim is not accurate.
In May the BFP published an article about the study Steve Baker had commissioned from Durrow about privatising Wycombe hospital .
In it, he says he had "received clearance from [the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority] to use his parliamentary allowance to launch the study".
To be strictly correct, MPs no longer have allowances; MPs have budgets against which they can claim, providing copies of the receipts for the goods or services bought from the budget.
IPSA decides whether to allow an MP's expenses after the MP has put in a claim. It does not "pre-authorise" claims. It does not give "clearance" to any claim until it is submitted and approved by IPSA. IPSA says that as of 5 August Steve Baker had not put in a claim for this study.
David Williams QC, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party, says
"Steve Baker doesn't seem to have provided the Bucks Free Press with accurate information when he said he got clearance from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to use his parliamentary allowance to launch this study. IPSA says it has not given clearance.
Mr Baker didn't tender for this study. He didn't go to an independent, authorative organisation such as the King's Fund. He found the answer he wanted from Durrow on the Conservative Public Services Policy Commission, a body so little known I can't even find it on the internet. An organisation which doesn't provide the "widest range of thinking " as he claims but simply reiterates Steve Baker's existing ideology of giving the NHS to the private sector.
Steve Baker has apparently spent £8000 of taxpayer's money on a politically motivated study to privatise Wycombe hospital and has not got IPSA clearance for this as he claimed. Nor is it clear what he knew about the background of the authors before commissioning the report. I thought MPs had learnt the lessons of the need for transparency and legitimacy in relation to expenses claims and the use of their budgets. It will be interesting to see if IPSA does approve a claim for this study or whether Steve Baker has to put his hand in his own pocket."