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
below:

http://www.jimallister.org/default.asp?blogID=1383

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!

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London