Labour expenses exposed: Angela Rayner claimed £1,600 on 23 first-class rail tickets

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Deputy leader Angela Rayner claimed £30,952.98 including £1,600 on 23 first-class rail tickets between London and her Manchester constituency since last March while Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy claimed £23,083.44 on expenses, including £8,883.35 on non-office rent and £475.67 in council tax and £20 on hand-sanitiser.

Many MPs book first class when they book in advance because its cheaper

Labour Party spokesman

Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell submitted an expenses claim for £25,206.49 last year, including £1,141.10 on rail trips including £390 for first-class, £5.65 for postage and a £157 TV licence fee.

Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Gill Furniss spent £19,506.31, including £7,136.72 on non-office rent and £780.78 in council tax. She also made 10 first-class rail journeys.

Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, claimed £23,865.67, including £2,843.20 on travel, of which £72.20 was spent on taxis between his London home and Westminster.

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer appears to have billed taxpayers just £13,179.64 in office costs, including £907.62 on stationery.

John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Standard class is good enough for most people.”

A Labour Party spokesman claimed it was often more cost effective for MPs to travel first class.

He said: “Many MPs book first class when they book in advance because its cheaper.”

Meanwhile, Labour has fallen behind the Conservatives, according to a new poll published today.

The latest Opinium poll for the Observer puts the Tories on 41 percent, up four percentage points compared with two weeks ago, and Labour down three points on 38 percent.

The Liberal Democrats are on 7 percent, Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP on 5 percent and Plaid Cymru on 4 percent.

The figures will come as body blow to Sir Keir and raise questions about why the party’s progress has stalled under his leadership.

Labour officials were hoping to see the party surge ahead of the Tories with the country in the grip of a third coronavirus lockdown, the Covid-19 death toll passing the 100,000 mark and early signs of travel and trade disruption because of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

But Mr Johnson and the Conservatives appear to be on the up again because of a so-called “vaccine dividend” as the country’s successful mass inoculation programme continues to garner praise across the board and brings hope of an end to Covid restrictions.

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Mr Johnson has also returned to the lead when voters were asked who would be the best prime minister.

The polled showed 33 percent would pick Mr Johnson, an increase of three points, while 29 percent think Sir Keir would make the best leader, down three points from last time.

The early stages of the coronavirus pandemic last spring saw Mr Johnson and the Tories pull clear of Labour as the country rallied behind the Government in a time of crisis.

But after the Tory lead over Labour peaked at 26 points in late March, Labour gradually clawed its way back after Sir Keir replaced Jeremy Corbyn as leader in April and the Cabinet appeared to be losing the battle to control Covid-19.

The two main parties were neck and neck by August and have swapped the lead several times since then.

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