EURO-MPs have rejected planned reforms which would open up their expenses claims to greater transparency with critics branding the decision "absolutely scandalous".
The Bureau of the European Parliament voted by a narrow majority to throw out proposals to forcing MEPs to keep receipts, employ a professional paying agent to carry out checks on their General Expenditure Allowance (GEA) and return unused funds.
The reform was supported by Vice-Presidents of Greens, Liberals, Left and Italian Five Stars with two Social-Democrats on their side.
The GEA of almost £4,000 per month is designed for office expenses such as rent and stationery and is paid on top of salaries as a tax free lump sum.
It adds up to a total of more than £35m a year and currently goes directly to MEPs' personal bank accounts with no transparency around how the money is spent and no obligation to return unused funds.
The vote came a year after European Parliament President Antonio Tajani pledged to bring greater transparency to how the Uu’s 751 MEPs are compensated for expenses.