It is hardly an essential element of British democracy.
But social media obsessed MPs have been told they can expense the cost of a training course on the photo-sharing app Instagram.
Parli-Training, an external company that provides classes for MPs’ staff, is offering the one-day course for £420 plus VAT.
Some MPs – such as Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss – have taken to Instagram naturally.
But others have struggled to get to grips with the new forms of communicating with voters.
Some MPs – such as Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss – have taken to Instagram naturally with no need for lessons. But others have struggled
An email advert for the course, titled ‘Instagram for Parliamentary Staff’, asks MPs: ‘Would you like your staff to have the ability to produce creative posts without appearing stilted and corny, attracting ridicule?
‘Would your team benefit from learning how to increase the number of followers you currently have on Instagram?
‘If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then why not send your staff to attend Parli-Training’s Instagram training course for parliamentary staff.’
The course will run one day next month from 10am to 3.30pm and includes a one hour lunch break.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which oversees their expenses, will allow them to reclaim the cost, the Times reported.
According to Parli-Training’s advert, MPs ‘the training falls within Ipsa’s criteria for staff training’.
James Price, campaign manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ‘If MPs want to promote themselves on social media, that should be done in their own time.
‘It is ridiculous that anyone thinks this course is a legitimate expense.’
A spokeswoman for Parli-Training said: ‘This is a vocational training course with no party political element. We don’t see anything untoward about this.’
An Ipsa spokesman said: ‘MPs’ staff are able to claim for training courses that are connected to parliamentary business.
Social media obsessed MPs have been told they can claim back on expenses the cost of a training course on the photo-sharing app Instagram
‘Claims made by MPs or their staff are checked by Ipsa to make sure they meet the principles of the scheme.’
The training is available to all MPs from across parties.
Earlier this month it emerged Conservative Party funds were being spent on lessons for MPs to show they are ‘real people’ by posting animal pictures on social media.
In an attempt to refresh their image and attract younger voters, the Conservatives were instead trying to project their ‘playful’ side on Instagram.