The David Gordon has been doing the legwork and has turned up a very interesting detail on UUP MLA Billy Armstrong, who “claimed rental expenses for a prefab constituency office owned by his wife and based on their farm.” One of those stories that ‘everybody knows about‘, but, once made public has a dynamic all of its own… It simply refuses to go away…As Gordon notes:
Assembly members can claim up to £70,000 of public money a year for office running costs, including rent, staffing, telephone bills, heating and electricity. The figure was raised from £48,000 last year following the restoration of devolution.
No one serious doubts the hard work of many constituency MLAs, but that is up to £70, 000 for which no account is made directly back to government.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty