Data held by the MPs’ expenses watchdog revealed the former minister submitted claims worth £8,750 for the services of Jonathan Farber over a two-year-period. One receipt, obtained using freedom of information laws, shows Mr Farber invoiced Ms McVey £750 for five hours’ work for two shoots including “edits, image processing and travel time”. Some of the photos featured Ms McVey showing her support for paddle boarders in their campaign against plastic pollution and others were taken at a Women’s Institute event.
The invoice is from “Jonathan Farber photo, video & consultancy”, and states Ms McVey is being billed for “comms consultancy – fixed rate retained professional photo, video and communications services.”
Ms McVey, who was a broadcaster and businesswoman before entering politics, gets paid £79,468 a year as an MP and is seen as an outsider in the Tory leadership race.
Records show she claimed £6,000 for Mr Farber’s services in 2018/19 and £2,750 in 2017/18.
She has submitted claims for Mr Farber’s services on 13 occasions, the majority of which describe his work as “comms” or “consultancy”.
Under Parliamentary rules however there is however nothing untoward about the £9000 bill and the claims were all approved by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which said: “Communication is a large part of an MP’s role and they are able to claim professional services to support them carrying out their duties.
“This could include photography to be used on their website and other digital and print communication channels.”
Ms McVey’s launched her leadership bid on Monday with a vow to promote “blue collar conservatism” which champions “working people”.
The former Department for Work and Pensions minister described the rising use of food banks as “positive” in 2013.
She said: “People are reaching out to support others in church groups, community groups, local supermarkets and other groups.
“In the UK, it is right to say that more people are visiting food banks, as we would expect … Times are tough and we all have to pay back the £1.5tn of personal debt, which spiralled under Labour.
“We are all trying to live within our means, change the gear, and ensure we are paying back all the debt that we saw under Labour.”