An MP who earned more than half a million pounds for work in addition to his parliamentary duties in the last two years had expenses claims rejected for milk and teabags, it has emerged.
Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, works part-time as a barrister.
According to the register of members' financial interests he made almost £520,000 from legal work dating back to 2014.
But in the latest update from the parliamentary expenses watchdog, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), it has emerged Cox's office made three separate claims for milk – all rejected.
As well as the separate claims for 49p pints of milk, made between June and August, Cox claimed for teabags costing £2 and weedkiller (for a space outside his constituency office) costing £4.99.
The claims were all rejected as they did not comply with new rules that came into force in May. Two claims for bars of soap worth 87p and 89p were successful, however.
Cox said in a statement: "In collating the office expenses for me to sign off, my staff had failed to notice that the rules had changed in May so as to place these costs outside the scope of IPSA's scheme. Once the error was identified, it was returned by IPSA and immediately cancelled by my office."
Last year Cox resigned from parliament's sleaze watchdog after not declaring £325,000 in income he earned as a barrister.
The Scottish National Party's leader in Westminster, Angus Robertson, had the most rejected claims of any serving MP, including one for £79.99 worth of equipment from Dixons.
An SNP spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, however, that some of the claims had since been reimbursed.
"Documentation for outstanding claims has been provided to IPSA and Angus Robertson MP has been reimbursed. There are different administrative reasons why claims are sometimes not immediately processed," the spokesperson said.
Former Tory MP Anne McIntosh had the most claims rejected overall, although she stood down at the last election and now sits in the Lords.
Elsewhere, Labour MP Alan Meale unsuccessfully claimed for milk, toilet paper, and coffee, John Healey, Labour MP for Wentworth and Deane, had a claim for £390 for "printed 18th birthday cards" rejected, and Tory MP Chris Skidmore was blocked from claiming £128 for stamps.
Matthew Champion is a deputy world news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Matthew Champion at email@example.com.
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