STROUD MP Neil Carmichael’s expenses claims have risen by almost 20 per cent on last year, according to data released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Between 2011 and 2012, the Tory MP claimed £144,165.72 compared with the £116,079.75 he claimed for the 2010-2011 period.

The bulk of Mr Carmichael’s claims for 2011-2012 (£106,210.20) went towards paying the salaries of his staff and their expenses.

Mr Carmichael’s direct parliamentary expenses, which include claims for accommodation, food and travel, increased from £19,731.52 in 2010-2011 to £21,373.31 for 2011-2012.

He also claimed money for running costs and rent associated with his constituency office.

His Conservative colleagues Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for the Cotswolds, and Gloucester MP Richard Graham claimed £116,911.65 and £124, 811.60 respectively in 2011-2012.

The increase in Mr Carmichael’s claims mirrors the broader trend of rises in MPs expenses, which have gone up by around a quarter this year.

“MPs expenses have risen as it reflects a full year’s expenditure rather than a part year after the general election,” Mr Carmichael’s office said in a statement.

“Neil’s staffing costs have risen as he now employs two full-time staff at Westminster and two and a half in Stroud to handle constituent enquiries and develop projects such as the festival of manufacturing and engineering and he pays them a fair rate,” it added.