Shropshire’s MPs claimed almost £12,000 on rail expenses over a period of 12 months, official figures reveal.
Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, bought first class train tickets for all 72 journeys he made between Shrewsbury and London between March 2011 and April this year.
Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard travelled first class 36 times out of 60 – spending £2,411, while out of Ludlow MP Philip Dunne’s 28 rail claims, 12 were for first class travel, at a cost of £4,112.
But north Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, who last month became Secretary of State for the Environment, claimed only standard class for all 16 rail trips he took in the same period, when he was Northern Ireland Secretary, and his bill came to £1,384.
Telford MP David Wright only had one rail fare logged.
The figures have been compiled by the anti-cuts campaign group Shropshire Fights Back using information published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
According to IPSA’s guidelines, MPs can only claim for a first class ticket if it is less than the cost of a standard open fair.
Mr Kawczynski, whose rail expenses cost £3,890 over the 12 month period, said he booked his tickets as far in advance as possible, and in the majority of cases he bought first class travel for less than the cost of a standard seat.
He said first class accommodation enabled him to carry out parliamentary work while travelling.
Mr Kawczynski said: “These claims have been made without taking into account the whole picture regarding my reasons for travelling first class and have been based on information that does not provide clear context.
"I choose to travel to Westminster from the county by train for a number of reasons, one being the relatively low impact on the environment compared with travelling by car.
"I always proactively plan ahead and purchase my rail tickets as far in advance as I possibly can, and in the vast majority of cases, obtain cheaper fares than on a standard ticket.
“Travelling first class ensures that I have access to Wi-Fi, an additional charge when travelling standard class, which provides me with a valuable opportunity to utilise my time while travelling.”
But his travel arrangements were criticised by Shropshire Fights back.
Jayne McDermott, a committee member for the group, said: “On receipt of the figures we were flabbergasted and very angry, particularly with Shrewsbury’s MP Daniel Kawczynski. How he can claim first class every single time I have no idea.
“One the one hand MPs are imposing cuts on ordinary families but then they are not leading by example.”
Neither Mr Pritchard nor Mr Dunne were available for comment today.