In Daily Ireland Ciaran Barnes has Eddie McGrady pegged as the lowest attending MP, bar Sinn Fein’s abstaining group. They Work For You have McGrady at 636 out of 645 (just behind George Galloway and Tony Blair) and Gerry Adams (in the fourth safest seat in the UK) at 637. McGrady attended 12% of all debates, has spoken in 5 debates, and received 91 written answers since the General Election. McGrady beat Adams on expenses drawn too, but only just: £118,895 to £109,315.Barnes notes:
SDLP attendance rates come a poor second to those recorded by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionist MPs. The DUP’s nine MPs took part in an average of 61 per cent of parliamentary votes, while the Ulster Unionist party’s sole Westminster representative, Sylvia Hermon, attended 48 per cent of votes. The SDLP’s average vote attendance figure of 23 per cent is the worst of any party at Westminster which takes its seats.
Jim Wells, the DUP’s defeated candidate in South Down:
“The people of South Down will be disappointed that Mr McGrady shows so little enthusiasm about representing them at Westminster. To be fair to him he is active on the ground at a constituency level, but when you are taking home a total salary of more than £100,000 per year, paid for by the public, you need to contribute more. Mr McGrady’s poor attendance rate is to the detriment of the people of this constituency, including those who elected him.
The SDLP’s line was:
As a united Ireland party our members do not go to Westminster to take part in British business. They go there to further the cause of devolved government in the North and advance the interests of our electorate. Comparisons with the attendance record of other MPs are a nonsense.