Pity poor Richard Corbett. The Labour MEP for Yorkshire and the euro wonk's wonk in chief found himself a little embarrassed on his way back from Strasbourg last week.A conductor approached him, asked for his ticket and informed him that he had a penalty fare to pay as he was travelling without a valid ticket.
You see this was the section between Luxembourg City and the town of Arlon in Belgium. MEPs receive free first class transport on the Belgian national carrier SNCB. - convenient for Richard as he commutes from his pad in Antwerp.
However this does not cover the cross border aspect of the trip, that is Arlon to Strasbourg. So it appears that Richard had paid the Luxembourg/Strasbourg aspect of the trip, but not the Belgium Luxembourg section.In First class, this amounts to just over 15 Euro. Not a lot, and an easy mistake you might say.
True, true, but hold on. Mr Corbett, being the wonk's wonk knows, and he would not demur from this about as much about the rights and wrongs of MEP'dom than any other. He has also taken this trip ever since being elected in 1996. So that 15 euro one way does start to look quite a wheeze, 30 euros each round trip.
Corbett being a conscientious chap would rarely have missed a visit, so that is twelve a year over the last 12 years. Sum total? Approximately 4,300 euros. Not a great deal I know, but for one of the great finger pointers of the Parliament quite an oversight.
Now, it could well have been a one off, I really don't know. But maybe we should be told?