Sir David Amess is the MP for Southend West flew from Essex to Edinburgh to check on the animals after receiving complaints from constituents.
A Tory toff MP used a taxpayer-funded trip to check on the animals at Edinburgh Zoo.
Sir David Amess flew from Essex to the Scots capital and enjoyed an overnight stay before claiming back almost £400 in expenses.
The backbench MP for Southend West told the Commons the world-famous visitor attraction, home to the only giant pandas in the UK, is “absolutely marvellous”.
He said: “I recently visited Edinburgh Zoo because I had had complaints from a few of my constituents about the way in which the animals were being kept.
“I am delighted to report I thought Edinburgh Zoo was absolutely marvellous and that the animals are very well kept there.”
The Southend West MP drew attention to his sight-seeing trip in the Commons on July 21, but later cited discussing devolution in his expenses claim.
Brexiteer Amess spent £380 on return flights between Stansted and Edinburgh, car hire, parking and a hotel, but did not file a claim for zoo entry. Adult tickets usually cost £19.
Yesterday, the Scottish Tories said he first met their chief whip John Lamont, then MSPs Jackson Carlaw and Maurice Golden at the Scottish Parliament.
The party refused to divulge further information other than to say a “range of issues” was discussed.
The SNP yesterday branded Amess’s publicly funded trip “astounding”.
Edinburgh MP Tommy Sheppard said: “While tourists are always welcome and encouraged to visit Scotland, people will find it absolutely astounding that a well-off Tory MP for Essex expects taxpayers to foot the bill for a £400 trip.
“This jaunt had no discernible benefit to the public, and it comes at a time when Tory austerity cuts Sir David voted for are taking basic support away from the disabled, poorest and most vulnerable. This money should be repaid.”
Despite talking to the Commons about the zoo, Amess only made mention of meeting MSPs in his expenses claim.
The flight from Stansted cost £58.98, with a return leg costing £118.99.
Parking at Stansted cost £66 and he claimed £42.30 for mileage between the airport and his home.
His hotel in Edinburgh cost £62.50 and car hire on May 31 cost £30.44.
Amess’s website states he is “passionate about animal welfare and pro-life issues”.
He supported the Prohibition of Abortion Bill and has called for the return of the death penalty.