“…answering the legitimate questions of legitimate watchdogs”

DUP questions about European expenses have brought an angry response from Jim Allister. He said the queries were about:

“…trying to sling mud in his direction”

Last week, Mark Devenport’s questioning of Jim Allister led him to admit for the first time that his constituency office was owned by his family. He had previously admitted he employs a family member. In his media profile, one of the roles Allister has adopted is guardian of the public purse, such as the Rathlin Ferry contract, installation of Cardinal Brady and City Council Chicago trip, as well as demanding speedy and accurate answers to his questions.

The DUP have always adopted an all-out attack approach to Allister which certainly hadn’t worked before Dromore. This is an approach I argued hadn’t worked and should be replaced with TUV treated as sceptics who needed to be persuaded. Also this line of attack usually ends up making all politicians look bad. However, his refusal to answer anyone except “legitimate watchdogs” seems to be an misjudgement. It certainly gives any politician the TUV questions an easy reply.

Allister legitimately points out he has answered more questions than either of his two fellow Northern Ireland MEPs. Only Alllister replied to Open Europe’s transparency survey (excel spreadsheet). A number of years ago queries by the UUP’s European Committee about MEP expenses were slapped down by the leadership. MPs and MLAs expenses have been examined in the past while, is it time for the three MEPs to be asked and answer the same questions?