THE Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) said photographs taken in connection with Tatton MP Esther McVey’s Parliamentary duties were ‘an allowable expense’.

The ruling follows a complaint to the body by Wilmslow town councillor Oliver Romain against Ms McVey last month.

IPSA compliance officer Tracy Hawkings looked into the complaint in her role of investigating complaints that an MP might be in breach of the ‘MPs’ Scheme for Business Costs and Expenses’.

As part of the assessment of the complaint the officer reviewed all the expenses claims made by Ms McVey for professional services – in this case for photography.

In her decision letter to Cllr Romain she said the Tatton MP had claimed more than £8,000 for professional services during the 2018/19 financial year and the beginning of the 2019/20 financial year, which was allowable under the MPs scheme for business costs and expenses.

She said: “In this case this is an allowable expense if the photographs were originally taken in connection with the MP’s Parliamentary duties. I am satisfied the photographs were taken in accordance with Ms McVey’s Parliamentary duties.

“The photographs subject of this complaint were taken between March 2018 and March 2019, several months before the General Election was called and were all published before the Election was called.

“I do not agree with your [Cllr Romain’s] assertion that the MP had the photos taken to support her election campaign.

“Turning to the question of their secondary use, some of the images were used in campaign leaflets to demonstrate the type of work Ms McVey had carried out in her role as an MP.

“This is not allowable under the scheme per se, however in this case Ms McVey has reimbursed IPSA a sum of money for the secondary use of the photographs.

“I have consulted with the head of the policy and assurance team within IPSA, who in turn has discussed the matter with a senior director.

“They agree the sum of money reimbursed was proportionate and reasonable. I am therefore taking no further action. This matter now closed.”

Ms McVey told the Guardian: “IPSA clearly stated there was no case to answer and that everything done was by the rules. I hope this is an end to the matter.”