MEMBERS of Parliament have recently had professional photographs taken – costing the taxpayer £10,000.
The amount was revealed following a Freedom of Information request by the Advertizer, after the photographs were commissioned to refresh the House of Commons’ image gallery for their website.
Around 90 per cent of MPs were photographed and that includes five out of six of the Shropshire MPs, but some claim that they didn’t know about the cost of the photo shoot.
Susan Elan Jones, Labour MP for Clwyd South said: “The pictures were taken when we took the oath, and we didn’t really have much choice when it came to having them.
“I think there are a lot more photographers in our area who are more cost effective, and if I’d have known they would cost £10,000 I would much rather recommend someone local.
“I am extremely surprised and appalled if that’s the cost and actually very concerned.
“MPs were told we had to have it done, although I’d rather have had it taken on a iPhone rather than spend taxpayers money.
“I didn’t even think the photographs were that good.”
Owen Paterson, Conservative MP for North Shropshire also claimed that he had no knowledge of the cost.
Mr Paterson said: “All I know is that we were walking past the chamber and all the MPs were directed into a room and I assumed it was for a catalogue of routine photographs.
“I did not know how much they cost and it seems like a lot of money for what it is.”
Not all of the MPs had their pictures taken, Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire said: “If that’s the cost then I am very pleased I wasn’t part of it.
“People can make their minds up if they think it’s value for money or not, but I am sure that other MPs will feel the same as me.
“I don’t know why I didn’t get my photo taken, maybe I was busy, but I’m glad I’m not part of it.
“If they approached me now to have my photograph taken I would not consider it. I’d rather use an iPhone.”
The photographer, Chris McAndrew has worked with celebrities including actor Benedict Cumberbatch and rapper Snoop Dogg.
More than 15,000 photos were taken in under two days. The Parliamentary blog states they are not finished yet as “there’s a lot of interest from the House of Lords to carry out a similar set of portrait sittings for them too.”
See full story in the Whitchurch Herald