Put it on my 'expenses'

For the first time ever, and as a direct result of the Freedom of Information Act, Westminster MPs expenses have been revealed for 2003/2004. The BBC has, helpfully, filtered out the details of our NI MPs’ expense claims. A full list of all MPs is available here (pdf) and ePolitix.com has a run-down of what can be claimed as well as a report on the total

  • David Vance

    The outrage here is the hundreds of thousands of British tax-payers money paid out to the IRA’s proxies. Once again we see the duplicity of republicans who grasp the Queen’s shilling whilst dedicating their lives to the destruction of the United Kingdom. Can we have a refund?

  • Davros

    An interesting thought David- did the British Taxpayer end up subsidising Don Geraldo’s recent Book Launch in Westminster by paying for his flights/accomodation ?

  • jonty

    why do peter and iris pay for two seperate flats ???

  • Davros

    The easy answer – would you share a flat with Peter if you could avoid it ? 😉

  • Butterknife

    Expense

    Sorry i wrote that on a different link. Some time ago i phoned up Castlereagh Borough Council .

    and asked for the expenses of Iris(h) Robinson and her hen-pecked husband. They refused to give them and with hindsight I should have invoked the Local Government Act or such legislation.

    • If they did live in the same house in that Borough then how do they represent different wards? Is this to pay for an extra Karp fish for his pond;
    • What expenses do they get directly and indirectly for these roles?;
    • What is the joint MLA expenses;
    • What did he truly take home for being a Minister for regional development? Remember this is a man who once said he would never be in an Executive, never liked the Belfast Agreement etc. but now has done a 180 degree turnaround on all of his policies etc. just for the sake of an extra pond (sic)!
    • I hope a news editor has the courage to look into all expenses of her MPs and their parties hypocritical boasts about how they put accountability first. Maybe the God Doctor should have used Carp fish in the cartoon;)

      Remember folks the this man (Robinson) was also responsible for Water Rates!!

      It is time to act and it starts with the fox

  • Davros

    The fox ?

  • Butterknife

    Trying to be a smart arse as always: The fox smells his own scent first. So as he (Robinson) mooted accountability then he should be scutinised the most…

  • Davros

    LOL … I like the devious and labrynthine convolutions of a twisted mind 🙂

  • Rebecca Black

    As I have little else to do, I compiled a little Northern Ireland league table from the Times. Its quite interesting…

    1. Nigel Doods DUP 56th
    2. Iris Robinson DUP 58th
    3. Gregory Campbell DUP 156th
    4. David Burnside UUP 171st
    5. Peter Robinson DUP 275th
    6. Sylvia Hermon UUP 276th
    7. Eddie McGrady SDLP 337th
    8. Seamus Mallon SDLP 386th
    9. Roy Beggs UUP 388th
    10. Jeffrey Donaldson DUP 395th
    11. Michelle Gildernew SF 403rd
    12. David Trimble UUP 464th
    13. Martin McGuiness SF 503rd
    14. Gerry Adams SF 518th
    15. Ian Paisley DUP 552th
    16. Pat Doherty SF 571st
    17. Martin Smyth UUP 597th
    18. John Hume SDLP 618th

    Think I got them all, do correct me if I missed one

  • Rebecca Black

    Butterknife

    someone once explained the system of holding multiple posts to me. I think if you are an MP and an MLA you only get a percentage of the MP salary and likewise if you are an MEP and an MP, you only get a percentage of the MEPs salary to top up your MP salary.

    However in the Robinsons case, both man and wife are councillors in Castlereagh Borough Council, both MLAs and both MPs. They also keep all their office jobs in the family, hiring their 3 children to run their offices. Their house is in Dundonald on the boundary between East Belfast and Strangford and within the Castlereagh Council area. The house actually does sit in Strangford though so Peter is one of Iris’s constituents. Although I am sure they probably own another home or office building in East Belfast that Peter can use as his address at election time.

    But they are a family empire, they probably earn at least 90grand a year each, then expenses from Castlereag Borough Council, Stormont and Westminster. Its mind blowing stuff.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Good luck to whoever ends up getting Castlereagh council! I’m just glad Belfast won’t end up repaying all the debt for the ‘prudence’ of the DUP rate setters!

  • Irishgael

    David Vance said, “The outrage here is the hundreds of thousands of British tax-payers money paid out to the IRA’s proxies.”

    Do you also realise there is more going to the DUP…The Political Wing of Ulster Resistance whose weapons Paisley has never given up. What did Paisley do with the weapons of Ulster Resistance ?

  • willowfield

    The DUP isn’t the political wing of Ulster Resistance (which I doubt even exists). Paisley didn’t have any weapons.

  • Butterknife

    Willowfield when Paisley was waving his gun license in the air what do you think his intent was?

    Davros

    What can i say, its poetic license:)

  • Davros

    BK, I might be wrong here, but I think Paisley wasn’t waving HIS shotgun certificate in the air, it was “a” shotgun certificate.AFAIK he didn’t have one at the time. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if those fools HAD paraded with their LHWs, assuming any or all of them actually HAD LHWs, they would AUTOMATICALLY have lost their right to hold said weapons because of the terms under which their shortgun and firearms certificates were issued.

  • Davros

    Rebecca – league table in terms of ?

  • willowfield

    Butterknife

    Willowfield when Paisley was waving his gun license in the air what do you think his intent was?

    You’re getting mixed up: that was the so-called Third Force.

    I imagine his intent was to give the impression that he could get a few farmers out to “defend Ulster” or something equally stupid: a veiled threat of violence.

  • David Vance

    I always get a chuckle at delusional Republicans who like to pretend that the DUP is akin to their own toxic Sinn Fein. Such infantile nonsense is unworthy of serious debate.

  • ulsterman

    Well as my grandfather said many times about Papists, they might not like the crown but by god they like the half crown.

    SF wont represent their constituents in Parliament because they wont take an oath to the Queen but by god they love the notes withh her face on it.

    They hypocrisy of SF shines through. They should all be arrested and beheaded, the murdering scum,

    God Save The Queen.

  • Butterknife

    Davros

    Whether it was his licence or a licence is irrelevant the fact
    remains Paisley’s intent was the same; as Willowfield pointed out. Therefore he
    was suggesting by his actions that the Third Force was able to carry out
    paramilitary

  • Davros

    BK- I’m not trying to Justify Papa Doc’s behaviour.
    Just looking closely at what actually happened.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “I always get a chuckle at delusional Republicans who like to pretend that the DUP is akin to their own toxic Sinn Fein. Such infantile nonsense is unworthy of serious debate.”

    The fact of the matter is that British soldier Brian Nelson organised the importation of a massive weapons haul from Sth Africa that was divided among the UDA, UVF and Ulster Resistance.

    Another embarrassing fact is that Ulster Resistance was actulally formed by the DUP. One has to ask what happened to the weapons owned by UR.
    Michael Stone is on record that he sourced these weapons for his attacks. A recent book on the UDA also stated that sometime Drumcree supporter Johnny Adair also tried to get these weapons.

    Some people might chuckle at such facts, but the DUP formed this organisation and do bear responsibilty for those weapons. As of yet unionists have not lived up to their responsibilities in trying to get these weapons decommissioned. Shame on them.

  • willowfield

    You support decommissioning, Pat?

  • willowfield

    Pat’s right: the DUP’s formation of Ulster Resistance is an embarrassment. Third Force is equally embarrassing. Two ridiculous organizations formed by a party prone to being ridiculous.

    But the DUP was not involved in any importation of arms and had quickly disowned UR after forming it. I don’t believe the DUP has any direct responsibility for these arms.

    They do, like all parties, have indirect responsibility for achieving an end to paramilitarism and the decommissioning of all illegal arms.

  • yer_man

    the talk about ulster resistance is a lot of spurious nonsence.

    Yes, any DUP supporter will probably tell you it was a mistake, but a mistake related to the times that it happened. That however, does not condone any group importing arms for terrorism – and has been said, the DUP had long since departed from any UR connections by the time they decided to import arms.

    Terrorism is wrong, and all arms paramilitary weapons should be decommissioned.

    I’m a little amused at the wesminster expenses stuff. It seems like the usual standard of journalism to me – take a nice headline figure and then trumpet that it ends up in our representatives hip pockets. Surely shoddy journalism hasnt runied all examination of the facts. I dont doubt the fact that MPs are paid very well, but I am a little concerned at the rubbish standard of reporting which doesnt even look for a second at what this money does or doesnt pay for. I think its a result of our lazy jounalists who have had it nice and easy for years reporting on bombings etc and dont actually want go out and look for a story so just take the easy way out.

    Btw Rebecca,
    What exactly was that a list of?

    And Butterknife,
    Surely you know that the rules for local Government represntation means that you either have to live or work in the area you represent or have property there. I dont think the fact that Peter and Iris Robinson actually live in the same house comes as a huge surprise to the constituents of either one of them…. I can see the headlines now. “Married MPs in living together shocker”

    Also, as far as I know, the DUP Minsterial salaries were paid directly back to party funds.

  • Butterknife

    At first i was going to give Iris the benefit of the doubt and say she probably give her staff extra Xmas pay etc but then it occurred to me that she probably hires her family like every one else.

    I wonder what Allister is doing in the EU Parliament to bring about its downfall

  • Rebecca Black

    “What exactly was that a list of?”

    yerman

    the list is a result of the survey that the Times did last wed/thurs (don’t remember which day) about how much each of the MPs spend of their expenses ie. the topic of this thread. The results were for all of the UK, so Mrs Robinson came 38th out of all the MPs in terms of how much of her expenses money she spent.

  • yer_man

    Butterknife
    “Remember folks the this man (Robinson) was also responsible for Water Rates!!”

    I think you will find that it was Mark Durkan in his time as Minister for Finance & Personnel along with the other pro-Agreement parties who first supported breaking the link between our rates and water charges.

    Up until then my rates bill always had a seperate section telling me the proportion of the rates bill which was going towards my water. However, the support of all the pro-Agreement parties (the DUP opposed this) allowed the first step towards introducing seperate water charges alongside the regional rate.

    Lets quote from a UUP document on the subject – kindly provided by the DUP website if you care to search.

    “It is widely recognised that Northern Irelandhas the lowest household rates in the UK.
    Central Government is no longer prepared
    to sustain subvention at current

  • Butterknife

    It is nice of the DUP to spare some valuable space on their Web for UUP briefing papers, now I know how and why they are turning into UUP mark 2.

    The fact remains that Robinson was or party responsible for the DRD and due to his party

  • Butterknife

    It is nice of the DUP to spare some valuable space on their Web for UUP briefing papers, now I know how and why they are turning into UUP mark 2.

    The fact remains that Robinson was, or partly was, responsible for the DRD, and due to his party

  • yer_man

    Butterknife
    They have quoted the UUP statement to help us understand where the other parties stand – to think otherwise exposes a level of childishness I would hope to avoid.

    “he may have dropped the ball”
    So you dont actually have any facts? Are you just basing your rantings on a dislike of the DUP – surely not! You’ve got to stop watching rubbish tv detecitve shows – I know Colombo solves a lot of cases on a ‘hunch’ but its not really good enough for a sensible debate.

    The evidence is there to show the other parties support for revenue raising initiatives, including water charging. The DUP on the other hand are the only party to have actually produced proposals to solve the problem and stop ratepayers being fleeced for everything they have.

  • Butterknife

    Yer_man

    Unlike the DUP, other party

  • Sam Maguire

    Come on David, there are better lines in that episode of the West Wing to “borrow” than “can we have a refund”

  • Michael Shilliday

    What exactly do John Taylor and Ken Magginnis spend their dough on?

    getting to and from parliament, which I understand may be a puzzling concept for the DUP.

  • Michael Shilliday

    and it will be interesting to see how often the lord mccrea of the LVF shows up when that sad day arrives.

  • maca

    “But the DUP was not involved in any importation of arms and had quickly disowned UR after forming it. I don’t believe the DUP has any direct responsibility for these arms.”
    “They do, like all parties, have indirect responsibility for achieving an end to paramilitarism and the decommissioning of all illegal arms.”
    “Yes, any DUP supporter will probably tell you it was a mistake, but a mistake related to the times that it happened”

    If I said such things I’d be called an apologist for terrorists.

    The facts remain that the DUP did form the UR and the UR did import weapons and those weapons remain in the hands of terrorists to this very day.

    The DUP cannot wash their hands of this, they cannot walk away claiming it was a mistake but none of their business anymore.

    The DUP and all parties have a direct responsibility to remove all weapons from terrorists. Why the heck do you people vote for them for??

  • yer_man

    Butterknife,
    Why on earth then are you standing up in support of parties which caused the introduction of water charges, have supported them for some time now, but when the spectre of them is actually raised – they then go running for the hills and deny any responsibility?

    Michael
    There’s a happy medium to be struck between having an MP who attends and having one who spends all their time frequenting the tearooms and bars of Westminster.

    Also, where does man not ball stray towards the realms of libel???

  • Rebecca Black

    “That’s what I thought – just it didnt seem to appear in any particular order.”

    yeah, apart from the numbers beside each name.

    Yerman, you are on a hopeless mission, the DUP, including my dear MP have just been proven to be the biggest money grabbers out of the Northern Ireland MPs, well apart from Paisley coming in as he does at 15th but thats probably because he’s hardly capable of participating anymore. Ontop of this stuff, there is the fact that there are those in the DUP on a triple mandate – greed and ego gone insane one might say.

  • Rebecca Black

    Yerman

    Lords are not elected and therefore no accountable to the same extent as MPs are. MPs however ARE elected and ARE accountable and we have every right to question their actions when we see fit.

  • yer_man

    Rebecca,
    I thought your Trimble Youth colleague told us that Members of the Lords use their expenses to get to and from Parliament. Does that not apply to MPs too? Also, do MPs not have an office to run and lets face it, a sight more work to do than a peer. I dont for a minute want to see a lack of scrutiny, but I think childish journalism and a petty desire to take headline figures does distort things a little.

    I dont mind scutiny of Members of Parliament – and if they are creaming the system then name and shame. However, I do feel a little uneasy that there has been absolutely no clarification in the press as to what these expenses do and do not pay for. Also, there has been no explanation as to whether MPs are required to produce reciepts for their expenses and the level of scrutiny that these reciepts are put to within the Westminster system.

    I would much sooner trust a PAC report quicker than a headline in a local rag from a journalist who cut and paste a few figures on a page with no explanation.

    If I lived in Strangford i’d rather have a hard working Iris Robinson rather than an absentee John Taylor as my MP. At least she seems to be an active and working MP and not the aforementioned Mr Taylor who realised his inactivity was catching up with him and couldnt even face the electorate in 2001.

    “Lords are not elected and therefore no accountable to the same extent as MPs are. MPs however ARE elected and ARE accountable and we have every right to question their actions when we see fit.”

    What an extraordinary statement! You sure you dont want to have a think about that one? The fact that MPs are accountable to the electorate means that we can do something about them. Therefore if we dont like them we can replace them. Peers on the other hand as you point out are unaccountable – therefore there is all the more need for scrutiny!! A typical UUP quango-queen attitude where we get jobs for ‘our boys’ and then let them sit in splendid isolation.

  • The Renegade

    SF accept all the perks of being MPS, but only abstain from taking their seats in the chamber. Surely this contradicts their claims of being abstentionist, and only serves to fail the needs of their constituents by not representing them in the (whether we like it or not) parliament which has direct rule over the 6 counties.

  • Rebecca Black

    Yerman

    “childish journalism”

    you are calling the Times childish?!?!?!? what an extraordinary statement! Well each to their own, I personally find it an excellent paper!

    I advise to to read more carefully before you bounce back so gleefully – I did not say that Lord were not accountable, I said they were less accountable than MPs.

    “I thought your Trimble Youth colleague told us that Members of the Lords use their expenses to get to and from Parliament. Does that not apply to MPs too?”

    Of course it does, I didn’t dispute that, but I don’t think it costs Mrs Robinson

  • Rebecca Black

    “However, I do feel a little uneasy that there has been absolutely no clarification in the press as to what these expenses do and do not pay for”

    You clearly didn’t read the original Times article then did you? There was a break down of exactly what the money was claimed for. I recommend you find a copy somewhere and have a read.

  • yer_man

    Rebecca,
    I understand what you are getting at, I did glance at the article in the Times, but as we all know, the Times isnt exactly read by everyone. When this stuff was copied in our local papers there was absolutely no explanation – and when I saw it covered on local TV they didnt even bother trying to have a sensible discussion. Its always so much easier just to gloss over things and treat us all like morons who wouldnt understand a breakdown of such figures.

    I dont mean the Times is childish journalism. I was referring repeatedly to some of our local journalists (i want to generalise so not to stray into the man not ball territory).

    As for Iris Robinson’s travel claims – surely the expense would depend on such things as the number of times she travels, also what other areas these expenses cover.

    “Well, if you think about it, what powers do the Lords actually have?? not many, all they can do is delay a bill, if they push any further there is a chance that Tony Blair will just get rid of them once and for all. So we are talking about a group of people who have been honoured for their political careers by appointment to the Lords. It basically just a talking shop, therefore spending alot of time and effort scrutinising them is somewhat of a waste of time. MPs on the other hand do have power, are elected and much more in need to scrutiny than Lords.”

    Well apart from your utter dismissal of our upper chamber, the power or lack of is utterly irrelevant. Are you suggesting that its ok to give expenses to someone so long as they dont have power? I dont care what their role is – they are still getting money from the public purse and therefore deserve scrutiny.

    The point I was making, and which you obviously didnt read before you ‘bounced back gleefully’ is that we can actually do something about our MP if they are abusing the system – we can remove them. We cant do anything about peers though – however I dont think a scrutiny of them would be a “waste of time and effort”.

    Also, not all members of the Lords are people honoured for their long political careers. Surely some of them get where they are by giving large donations to a political party…. wonder who that could apply to!?!

  • Michael Shilliday

    I do feel a little uneasy that there has been absolutely no clarification in the press as to what these expenses do and do not pay for.

    would you be saying that if DT and not one of your own had topped the table?

    Wee willie can sue me if he wishes, he’d lose and you know it. More respected persons than I have suggested that he may well be the official chaplain of the LVF

  • DessertSpoon

    Yer_Man said “Are you suggesting that its ok to give expenses to someone so long as they dont have power? “

    Isn’t that what the the government is currently doing for MLAs??

  • Butterknife

    Yer.man

    A representative of the UUP has been quoted as saying that they have acted as

  • Butterknife

    Micheal its called Fair Comment. The Lord Willie of the bigots.

  • Rebecca Black

    “As for Iris Robinson’s travel claims – surely the expense would depend on such things as the number of times she travels, also what other areas these expenses cover.”

    come on, what possible expenses could she be incurring that make it necessary for her to claim

  • Butterknife

    She can not be for an MP devotes 110% purely to their job as MP and an MLA and Councillor spends … (OH!!!)