Rumours that a Bath MP in the UK claimed £7,456 last year for McVitie’s Hob Nob biscuits are spreading online. The claims come in the form of a meme featuring an image of former Conservative MP Ben Howlett, who was ousted in the 2017 elections.
Despite the claims made on the meme (that many spectators have found hard to …err… digest – sorry!) the claims are not true. In fact the meme was first posted by a local satirical Facebook page named TodayIsAllAboutBath.
While the meme was initially not taken seriously on the satirical page, it was soon copied onto other Facebook pages that frequently post about more serious issues and as a consequence many took the meme at face value, despite its obvious absurdity.
How absurd, you ask? We did the math – at UK supermarket Tesco, a packet of McVities 300g biscuits [at the time of writing] costs £1.19. So if you divide the £7,456 by that, it amounts to a staggering 6265 packs (rounding down.) To consume that in a fiscal year, Mr. Howlett must have been munching down on over 17 packets each day, including weekends. Well, if that was true, that really would take the biscuit!
Thankfully it’s not. The website MP’s Expenses.info shows that out of Mr. Howlett’s total £183,530.56 worth of expenses for the last fiscal year, the vast majority was for staffing, office rent and accommodation. Nothing about copious amounts of office snacks.
While many will claim the meme was too absurd to believe, the MP expenses scandal in the UK really did turn up some outrageous expense claims made by Members of Parliament, including claims for scatter cushions, Duck island, a toilet seat and of course the notorious moat. See some bizarre claims here.