Our inscrutable MEPs…

If some of our MP and MLAs are taking the heat over the way they claim their expenses, we are not likely to find out too quickly what our MEPs are up to, since they, along with much of the EU bureaucracy, are beyond local scrutiny.

  • joeCanuck

    Bragging rights:
    From damaging the family brand thread earler:

    #

    From the First Post, today:

    Probe digs up MEPs expenses abuse

    An internal inquiry by the European Parliament has uncovered widespread misuse of MEPs’ expenses. The survey found in a random sample of MEPs that the £130,000 they are each paid for the employment of parliamentary assistants has been claimed for fictitious staff or unqualified family members. MEPs were only allowed to see the report at a secret location, were not allowed to take notes and were told to sign a confidentiality agreement.
    Posted by joeCanuck on Feb 21, 2008 @ 07:02 PM

  • seanzmct

    What is the EU’s position on the employment of family members? Can “qualified” family members be appointed to research and secretarial posts or do they have to apply by open competition.

    I watched BBCNI’s apalling Let’s Talk tonight and was struck by the gulf between text messages from the public and the opinions of panellists on the nepotistic practice of MLA’s appointing family members to paid posts. The panellists seemed to have no problem with this form of blatant discrimination, and the new (one of four at £65k pa) Victims Commissioners Mike Nesbitt, reminisced nostalgically about the days when jobs could be got “on the nod”.

  • suchard

    How European but surely the two Jims will do the decent thing and Nicholson especially will follow his leaders wishes. Si c’est nescessaire M.Jim que vous suivez le commande de votre grande fromage M.Empey et aussi maintenant vous avez les services de M. Alex Benjamin. Il serait tres facile a presenter ces petits details parce que il faut que ca vous auriez tous les numeros pour les authoritees European pour faire ces payments Si serrez un bon homme mon ami.

  • john

    I hope jim, jim and barbe wire de brin tell us who they employ as that would be something everyone should know.. lets not throw stones if you do the same yourself. These 3 party’s are a definate NO NO for me on any voting day. i’ll be sticking to my usual 1 2 3 in South Antrim

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Newton Emerson stated on RTE radio this morning that SF assembly members had no family employees in their pay. If true a league table would look good – presumably the same applies for their Euro MPs.

    p.s. Of course they would top the insurgency related activities league tables as well.

  • Truth & Justice

    Yes lets see what they may or mayn not be up to!

  • Butterknife

    I agree with the above posts. Several points really:
    Mike Nesbitt admits that he is getting paid for a job that has no basis in law!
    Gregory Campbell employs his wife full-time to work in her own property that he pays her rent for out of the public purse? So let me get this right: she gets a wage from the public purse and she is employed by her tenant from whom she gets more monies from the same source – nice work! What was the rubbish the panel came out with – sure maybe no one else would rent to him, i think not! Under Parliament rules this is a NO NO NO, nice to know our unionist MLAs are now NOT in favour of following Westminster….

  • Butterknife

    Sorry my little rant made me forget about html protocol … but at least you can see the addresses to which i refer to 🙂

  • interested

    Does Jim Allister have a statement out on this one?

    No – thought not.

  • John, I don’t know about the other two but Jim Allister, in a riposte to Sammy Wilson, has provided some details:

    My staff, which as is well known includes my daughter since July 07, are full time, all well qualified double graduates, appropriately paid and do a professional job. For some they obviously do too good a job.

    Jim is not having much luck getting information on the SpAds; maybe David Gordon should have a go. For all we know, some of them may be ‘answerable’ to a paramilitary mafia boss.

    Were we to move into the millions rather than restrict ourselves to the thousands we might ask where the £50 million pounds for the Ballee lands would come from and what would be the security.

    Should it involve one or more property companies I’m told that it’s almost impossible to identify the investors. Should it come down to a criminal trial involving the directors would the judge or judges have to declare whether or not they are investors?

    I’ve already noted that the original company that was bidding for the Ballee lands is called Sarcon (No [ ]) Limited. This tells us that it’s a Carson McDowell shelf company but not which one.

  • “Such a generous interpretation of ‘expenses’ may go somewhere towards explaining why it costs over a million pounds to send an MEP to Brussels – more than two and a half times the cost of sending a British MP to Westminster.”

    Chris Davies MEP, LibDem – Pay and Expenses:

    “By contrast MPs receive a London “additional cost allowance” of £22,110 pa which is paid monthly whether or not they actually attend the House of Commons.”

    Mr Davies said: “This report is dynamite and makes the Derek Conway affair at Westminster look like small change.”

    He is one of a group of MEPs on the European Parliament’s Budget Control Committee who were allowed to look at the report this week – but only under surveillance and without taking notes or copies.

    The committee members were also supposed to sign a confidentiality agreement.

    But Mr Davies did not, and he revealed the auditors’ catalogue of alleged abuses of payments for MEPs’ office staff. The total involved is about £100 million for the audited period between late 2004 and early 2006.

    Each MEP is given about £130,000 a year to pay the salaries and social security costs of employing assistants.

    “When I looked at this report my first reaction was to laugh at the outrageous extent of the abuses” said Mr Davies.

    “Then that feeling turned to anger and the realisation that the police or the anti-fraud people should be looking at this.”

    Franz Bruner, Director-General of Olaf, the EU’s internal anti-fraud squad, said he was launching an inquiry and had demanded to see the audit report by the end of this week.

  • interested

    Great to hear the BBC continue on their “public interest” investigations this morning looking at Belfast City Council staff members going to awards ceremonies and the amount this costs.

    Great that they picked the week that GMU presenters were all croaking like frogs presenting the programme because they’d all been in Dublin the day before at an awards ceremony – no doubt quaffing copious amounts of champagne at the licence fee payers expense.

    Doubt if we’ll get an hour long ‘expose’ on that issue on Nolan……

  • Wilde Rover

    The enlightened ones in the neo Tower of Babel care nothing for the bleating of the pathetic consumerbots.

  • Keep it in the Family

    Does anyone know who owns 139 Holywood Road?

  • Butterknife

    Has Gregory Campbell breached Parliament’s rules by paying rent to his employee (wife) for tenancy of his MLA / MP (sic) Constituency Office?

  • interested

    Butterknife
    The short answer to that one is no. Apparently the office rented from his wife is from the Assembly allowances – well within the regulations and perfectly legitimate. The office he rents from the Westminister allowances is rented from a third party.

    The reporters made it clear that Campbell’s only in the news because he admitted it and was happy to comment up front. Its clear that others are doing the same thing (and are perfectly entitled to) but why is there a focus on this one individual?

  • Michael Shilliday

    That’s an interesting point actually, rent is being paid to a full time employee.

  • Paul

    A costituency office is an essential service needed for elected representatives to meet the needs of their constituents. Public money is and should be used to pay for this. As long as rent is paid at commercial rates then it matters not who owns the building. The uplift on any property value is not paid for by public money. We do live in a capitalist market economy, and for that I’m glad. If a MLA sees away of benefiting through shrewd business then fair play to them as long as it is within the law. It isn’t costing the public purse anymore than renting from a stranger.

  • Paul, would it not be a lot cheaper to give our elected representatives free offices in public buildings such as council offices or community centres?

  • Butterknife

    Paul i totally agree with you and no one would say different but his wife owns it!
    He employs his wife full time to work in her own property to which she receives a wage from the public purse AND its rent from her husband and employer – we all employ him and therefore he does not have to justify himself to you but to me too!
    If he uses this property to do constituency work as part of his MLA work then where does he do his MP work … does he claim a like allowance from Parliament for the same or different property for a different or same property?
    These guys are morally bankrupt and its compounded by the fact that they used religion ans their veil and shield.