Civil war over Jim’s MEP expenses

To give you the full flavour of the bitterness between the DUP and their prodigal, I post this ranting analysis from former DUP publicist Simon Hamilton. If Jim Allister had remained in the DUP would the party have caned him for his claims? Would he have behaved any differently?

“Using figures provided by Jim Allister on his own website, we can deduce that Jim Allister is costing the UK tax-payer in excess of £285,000 per year.”
“The rank hypocrisy of someone like Jim Allister to go on radio and issue statements about other people’s expenses leaves a lot to be desired. Mr. Allister has serious questions to answer regarding his own expenses and how he is using public money. Using the average 2008 exchange rate, we can deduce he claimed in the region of £27,000 for travel and £23,000 for subsistence, including food and hotels. That’s a figure for one single year for one individual. This is the same man who was happy to go on the airwaves and lecture two individuals for their total claim for a period of four years. What a cheek!” Using figures provided by Jim Allister on his own website, we can deduce that Jim Allister is costing the UK tax-payer in excess of £285,000 per year.

During the last year Mr. Allister claimed:

Salary: £63,504.71

Staff: £144,975.00

Offices: £26,407.07

Allowing for the 2008 average GBP to Euro exchange rate of 0.797, in one
year, Mr. Allister claimed approximately:

Travel: 29 trips @ EUR1200 (£
956.40) = £27,735.60*

Daily Allowance (Food and hotels): 103 days @ EUR287 (£228.74)
= £23,560.12

EUR1200 = £956.40

EUR287 = £228.74

Taking the figures provided by Mr. Allister we arrive at a figure of
approximately: £286,182.50 for 2008

Mr. Allister also indicated he had access to a £30,286 (EUR 38,000)
Communications Allowance but does not reveal on his website how much
of it he used last year

* – A Ryanair flight from Dublin to Brussels Charleroi
leaving on Monday 18th May returning on Friday 22nd
May 2009 costs EUR56.84 (£45.30); Leaving £911.10 UNSPENT

– A Flybe connecting flight from Belfast City Airport to
Southampton to Brussels leaving Monday 18th May returning on Friday 22
nd May 2009 costs £396.54; Leaving £683.46 UNSPENT

– A BMI connecting flight from Belfast City Airport to London
Heathrow to Brussels leaving Monday 18th May returning on Friday 22nd
May costs £528.79; Leaving £427.61 UNSPENT

MEPs are permitted to keep travel allowance which they do not
spend. The figures provided by Jim Allister can be found by following the link

Jim Nicholson and Barbara de Brun have yet to publish any figures at all.

Ah well.. so Mr Allister can’t be all bad after all!

  • righteousedward

    this isn’t a ‘ranting’ analysis but serious questions that must be answered.

    We appear to be paying a flat rate for flights regardless of the cost of that flight, and our meps can pocket the rest? Happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

    Certainly, any MEP who does this and then claims to be the people’s champion regarding expenses is on very dangerous ground.

  • ABC

    Well said that man! Allister actually said on the radio this morning he doesn’t get money for food! What a spoof!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    “If Jim Allister had remained in the DUP would the party have caned him for his claims?”

    Perhpas more pertinently – did the DUP approve similar claims when he was in their party – if so they are actually throwing muck at themselves.


    Jim Allister is Aa full time MEP

    Unlike the DUP who are FOOL time at WESTMINSTER

  • thebigman

    Anybody check RIP claims when he was an MEP

    Nearly forgot he did not go very often to Europe

    Has he been to Westminster this year?

  • Scamallach


    I don’t get it.

  • oneill

    “Perhpas more pertinently – did the DUP approve similar claims when he was in their party – if so they are actually throwing muck at themselves.”

    Unless the Dupes can prove Jim suddenly developed a sudden taste for the Euro high life only on the day he left their party, that’s the thirty thousand pound question.

    Simon never did get back to me about his lunch arrangements for today:

  • fair_deal

    “Jim Nicholson and Barbara de Brun have yet to publish any figures at all.”

    JN has never liked questions about expenses. AFAIK he didn’t participate in the Conserative MEPs release of data (The link to the information is dead so can’t double check)

    SF have gone for full disclosure of MPs allowances so maybe they’ll rethink and release the Euro stuff.

  • Mark McGregor

    As someone with experience of the costs involved, his travel and subsistence cost for Strasbourg sessions alone would amount to a huge percentage of this part of the claim given the extortionate air-fares and hotel rates in that ‘city’ during plenary. As the DUP well know!

  • Mark McGregor

    Additional: the flight costs and hotel costs in Brussels rocket when MEPs are sitting in mini-session or committee so this DUP costing is just a load of bullshit.

  • The Impartial Observer

    Just had Alban McGuinness round canvassing. Seems a good bloke!

  • Silverline

    DUP have a point the three MEPS must come out with their expenses

  • Scamallach

    €1200 flat rate TO BRUSSELS and you get to keep what you don’t spend?? That is a disgrace! I went to Australia and didn’t spend that much on my flight.

    What an absurd system – in any normal expenses system you get reimbursed for what costs you ACTUALLY incur. If that is not a perk I don’t know what is. It should be declared as salary.

  • Mark McGregor

    I’m at a loss looking through these figures. Everything they are seemingly pointing to as possibly excessive is just going rate when MEPs are in town.

    Any journo wanting to bite on this bollox should maybe ask colleagues based in Europe the cost of a flight/hotel during plenary, mini-session or committee week before slurping down this crap.

    Can’t believe I’m defending a man that spent three years looking at his shoes every time I got in a lift with him over acknowledging I existed but by god this is a load of crap from the DUP.

  • ABC


    What’s wrong? Afraid the voters are going discover what Babs was paying you for all those years.

  • Silverline

    What about Nicholsons trips to Australia????????????

  • sam

    Seeing alister on budget flight makes a bit more sense now

  • P45 in the Post

    How exactly is ‘publicity fund’ claimed for the publication of his Brussel’s Briefing newssheet?

    The last time I check this was printed on a standard office printer. Would this not come out of office costs? Does Jim Allister pay anyone to produce this news sheet? Surely not as it appears to be a complete reproduction of his month’s statements.

    How much is the person paid? Are they a member of his family?

    Since Jim seems intent on using the term family-dynasty building in this election, perhaps he could answer:-
    1- Is his office owned by any members of this family?
    2- How many of his family members does he employ? (might be quicker to list the ones not employed)
    3- Does he pay any member of his family through his publicity allowance?

  • Bretagne

    “A BMI connecting flight from Belfast City Airport to London Heathrow to Brussels leaving Monday 18th May returning on Friday 22nd
    May costs £528.79; Leaving £427.61 UNSPENT”

    ER – not quite…..Shocking really from Simon Hamuilton – who until now has appeared pretty sure-footed. I take it as a sing of panic is DUP circles… here is why…

    The cost of a flexible fare is £340 more than stated above…

    That still leaves fuel to airport at belfast @£10
    Parking at Belfast – £38
    Taxi at the far side in Brussles .£25.
    Running total is :- £423 of the 427.00 UNSPENT.
    But getting to Stasbourg can cost a lot more.

    SO 1200 is there or thereabouts for a trip – I think it is fair to allow MEPS to go flexible on at least 50%-60% of trips, given the time away from home, and air fare will be considerablly more in the run into holiday etc.

    Shoddy stuff from Simon Hamilton..never thought I would defend im Allister…takes a third pill and a gulp of water..

  • Mark McGregor


    The only cost i’d dispute is the taxi as in most instances MEPs can get the shuttle bus or a car from the airport via the EP.


    Indeed. Your BS only falls down on the fact my salary was over ever AIW and I never got an expense beyond covering a fleapit in Strasborg – with no food allowance.

  • metropole

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    Mark McGregor rips apart childish DUP tantrum in a second. Days of closed-door strategy about how to respond to these pesky Telegraph reporters and try to divert any further attention from the hungry hippos, and here we have it – step forward Auditor Simon, with some ridiculously-produced figures, to attack the one MEP who’s actually freely published his expenses. Simon cares not of the two who haven’t, only seemingly the one who has. The one who for most of his term was a member of the same Party, and thus, if he is guilty in the eyes of the public will hurt them, including ex MEP Paisley – who’s own control over expenses were being reported on against this week – as much as him.

    But then, as the F5 button is being repeatedly pressed and the multiple log-ins are being used, up steps McGregor and swats away those keyboard-bashing backroom boys like flies, exposing both their lack of knowledge of the European system, and their increasing desperation to gain credibility with any of their dirty trick campaigns, in the process.

  • Observer

    This is desperation stuff that the DUP poodle is peddling. Fact; Jim Alister would have been the DUP candidate this time if he had remained in the party and we would have been getting told how good value for money their man in Europe offered. The DUP really need to do better than looking for dirt to fling. They should remember that mud slinging brings some revenge mud back and it could be ten times the original mud! The younger wing of the DUP have fallen into the trap of believing their own propaganda and also thinking that they can get away with anything. The amount of canvassing they are doing and the amount of attention they are focussing on Alister tells me that they are very afraid. I’m not a TUV supporter and haven’t much time for their leader but at least he is consistent. He is continuing to preach the DUP mantra’s that the likes of Mr Hamilton and his merry band screamed from the roof tops to get noticed and then elected but which are now never never never muttered. Hopefully Mr Alister can give the DUP a little bit of heartache at the Euro election. It would be a bit of fun in another wises dull event.

  • skullion


    Spot on.The dup seem to be getting very worried about Alister.Perhaps the crazy notion of two nationalist candidates aint so crazy anymore.

  • the joxer

    ‘Indeed. Your BS only falls down on the fact my salary was over ever AIW and I never got an expense beyond covering a fleapit in Strasborg – with no food allowance. ‘

    All the same, Mark,you must miss the buzz of being at the centre of things.

    Blogging on Slugger, good as it is, is hardly the same thing.

  • Silverline


    You say Allister is consistant well have a look at him anfd the facts:

    Allister proposed a new Committee for Stormont in a debate with Dodd’s for the three MEPs to sit on as well. I thought he was against extra waste; this is hardly a sign of someone not wanting to share power with Sinn Fein. In fact let’s look at his record.

    A) Prepared to share power with Sinn Fein in a super council styled model
    B) Agrees that not elements of the St Andrews Agreement were bad
    C) Wont reveal expenses in Europe
    D) Now proposing a new Committee for Stormont
    E) Left the DUP over one issue wanting to have a longer testing period for Sinn Fein before agreeing to go into a Voluntary Coalition
    F) Helped to negotiate St Andrews Agreement

    Hardly consistant

  • Observer


    A DUPer challenging the definition of consistent?
    Only one answer to that. “Never, never, never” To have done all that research on Jimbo demonstrates the sheer panic in the ranks of the DUP over this Euro election. Did the Shinners help you with the research?

  • “Allister proposed a new Committee for Stormont”

    Silverline perhaps they could dispose of the Committee for Regional Development.

    It was informed about a company’s name not being on an insurance certificate for the best part of a year. The item was marked read.

    DRD budgeted £1.2 million for a ferry but only returned £0.7 million to the coffers. Information recorded by CRD but no further action taken.

    Chairman of CRD claimed that the committee would be examining the Rathlin ferry investigations report at the beginning of 2009. It doesn’t appear on the Schedule of Work and Briefing even though this covers the period up to the beginning of the summer recess.

  • Cushy Glenn

    Simon Hamilton is perceived as a rising star in the DUP, simply because he has learned that Punt loves a brown noser who can sling mud without descending into the swivel eyed dalek rant that Willie McCrea’s generation used to employ.

    The ginger whinger is presumably familiar with the suicidal impudence Allister showed when in the DUP of daring to criticise Paisley’s allocating a peerage to his wife, and other awkward questions about the running of the party. Simon’s sudden concern for that part of the public purse allocated to Allister seems to be typical of the visceral hatred the DUP only demonstrates towards those of their own who start to think for themselves. And like his ex-UUP colleagues Arlene and Jeffrey, he seems quite happy to tolerate things from the DUP that he denounces in former colleagues

  • 6countyprod

    Pots and kettles, casting the first stone, and all that.

    Allister thought he could make some political hay with the issue, but his hypocrisy has been exposed. Like politicians of all shades, he has also milked the system for his own benefit.

    I find it puzzling that those who castigate the DUP want to run interference for Allister. Where’s the consistency or integrity in that?

  • ABC

    The DUP has been hinting at Allister’s dodgy expenses for some time. It’s clear now that the gloves are off and they will not allow him to try and adopt some sort of “holier than thou” approach over the issue of expenses. When all is said and done, the only elected representatives who cannot be scrutinised publicly are MEPs because they are not subject to FoI legislation. Allister’s problem is that like most MEPs he has serious questions over how much money he trousered from the travel allowance and from the daily allowance. The charge of hypocrisy is a perfectly legitimate one when he was prepared to go on Nolan and claim he wasn’t paid for food. His bitter hatred of the DUP got the better of him – he just couldn’t resist trying to kick the Robinson’s and now the DUP has cut him off at the knees.

  • paceparent

    Did Peter get his rebuttal figures on the food costs from Simon?

    His sanctimonious jibes about park benches and not satisying some people likely cost the DUP thousands more votes.

    Perhaps the brain trust at Dundela thought that they could brazen their way with unionist voters after St Andrews. Since they touched the tar baby of coalition government with Sinn Fein and left dirty marks everywhere they’ve been since I would suggest the European election is only the beginning of their misery.

    The DUP couldn’t cut grass – just look at their handling of the education debacle. Wasn’t it Jim Allister who exposed their secret deal with the shinners causing a rapid retreat on selection at 14?

    Roll on June 4.

  • Silverline

    I think it would be interesting to find out who owns the TUV European office and if the owner is claiming rent for it, that would be most interesting indeed ???????????????????????????????????

  • Observer


    Do you think it would be as big a scandal as the DUP offices in Ballymena or a certain seaside townhouse up the coast? If Jimbo had still been in the party I doubt if you would be even slighting raising an eyebrow at who owns his office. Maybe just proves that everyone who has ever been involved with the DUP knows how to play the system to the benefit of their own pocket.

  • Silverline

    Observer you are very defensive, have you got something to hide? Jim claims he does not want to share power with Sinn Fein but comments and actions show this is not the case, he is taking those who follow him for a ride!I forgot to add Jim also help to negoiate the ST Andrews Agreement including academic selection for grammar schools.

  • observer


    As someone who wishes a plague on all their houses I have nothing to be defensive about. I try to take a fair view of all that happens. You on the other hand come across as the typical DUP zealot who sadly believes all you hear from the DUP press office. Who knows you maybe even work in it!!

    Incidently what did you make of the election ad for Mrs Dodds in the News Letter yesterday? It said that the DUP’s battle is with Sinn Fein. Is it really? Remember the Chuckle Brothers? Funny how power and position can make folk forget their roots. Still after the election the DUP at Stormont can go back to sharing the chocolate biscuits with their mates.

  • “DUP knows how to play the system to the benefit of their own pocket.”

    Observer, IIRC the DUP’s proud boast was that it would milk the EU cow, or words to that effect. Perhaps they just meant that they would do so for the benefit of their business supporters (OOPS) everyone in Northern Ireland.

  • paceparent

    Are you suggesting that Jim Allister’s support for academic selection now stands out in stark contrast from the DUP position which seems to have gone soft?

    I would suggest that Jim Allister and the TUV will gain additional new votes on their strong stance on academic selection as opposed to the DUP’s quiet retreat towards their friends’, Sinn Fein, anti-selection stance.

  • ?

    I would suggest that Jim Allister and the TUV will gain additional new votes on their strong stance on academic selection …

    sorry what is Jims strong stance exactly, and how is he going to achieve it.

  • Silverline


    You really are taking this very much to heart? why? I just stated Jim stance on academic selection is the same as the DUP, as for who I support it is the Alliance Party I just felt you should know the truth and it seems to hurt you?

  • Observer


    An Alliance supporter with DUP leaning! Wow! Could have fooled me! Hope Big Davy doesn’t find out who you are.

  • Bigger Picture

    I love how the DUP have been accussed of using multiple log ins for this site and then when a story comes out attacking Jim Allister contributors appear out of the blue trying to defend him…..

  • ??


    sorry what is Jims strong stance exactly on academic selection, and how is he going to achieve it.

  • Observer


    Not really sure! If you need to find out ask Silverline or someone else in the office in the morning. The press boys in DUP HQ will have it all on file. You have both got a bad case of DUP indocrination and unfortunately there is no cure. Jimbo has it as well and that is why he is going to appeal to a lot of DUP voters in June. Can’t wait!

  • jamesy

    paisley rarely attended europe w/minster etc.He was our answer to an independent gas supply.
    The dup and all their grunts so need to remove Jim alister to retake THEIR SEAT.A few facts the dup own no seats the People only own them and the current stench of greed and lies the people have had a belly full of these hoods.People out of work homes taken from them and this pile of trash building bigger and bigger dynasties.The dup must be slung out and people recover the money stolen.The pigs will no longer run the farm

  • paceparent

    This message on the TUV website seems explicit enough on academic selection.'s-guerrilla-campaign-

    Where is the DUP condemnation of Ruane’s bullying techniques? Perhaps too close to the bone for the DUP right now if Gregory Campbell’s squirming performance on Nolan this morning was anything to go on.

  • ABC


    Frankly your childish swipes at the DUP are tiresome. Jim Allister, even if elected as an MEP would have absolutely no power over the debate on academic selection.

    As for DUP condemnation of Ruane’s bullying tactics: might I suggest you visit the DUP website and put in the word “Ruane” to the search engine?

  • paceparent

    You are probably referring to pathetic statements such as that of Nelson McCauseland MLA
    “Apart from her party colleagues, the only organisation that Caitriona Ruane has been able to rely upon for consistent support for her disastrous plans for our education system is INTO.”
    In the usual, cynical, weak, puerile and practiced way for the DUP Nelson points the finger at anyone but themselves. It was Jim Allister who uncovered their secret dealings with the Shinners on selection.
    Robinson and Campbell have made a PR and credibility horlicks of the expense issue pointing at the BBC as if they are culpable but in the educationalists world virtually every group, quango or official organisation have supported the Minister’s vision, if only because they are frightened to do otherwise.
    If the DUP wanted to end unregulated testing then why has the finance Czar Dodds not directly funded an alternative test?