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A merry taxpayer funded Christmas from the Rt Hon. Bill Rammell MP.

HARLOW MP Bill Rammell tried to charge the taxpayer for the cost of 1000 Christmas cards in 2005.

In December 2005 Mr Rammell tried to claim £510.84 for 1000 Christmas cards to be sent from his constituency office, but this was refused by the fees officials.

Mr Rammell's staffing costs have risen steadily in the past five years. The published figures are £77,534 2004-5, £85,048 2005-06, £83,095 2006-07 and £90,333 in 2007-08.

Communication expenses have only been released for 2007-08. The figures show a total of £9970, with much of the work going to two companies - Barnard Braggins Partnership and Public Impact. Both have close Labour links and are used by the many of the party's backbenchers to produce newsletters and do research. MPs cannot claim for party propaganda, only their parliamentary work.

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