“If that exercise turns out to be excessive in the right direction..”

Sir Thomas Legg, tasked with assessing MPs’ historical claims for expenses, has written to MPs explaining his decisions and asking some of those to repay monies claimed – more on the expenses row here. The BBC’s Nick Robinson records that “Senior MPs with a legal background said Sir Thomas would not have a leg to stand on if his demands for repayments – based on rules he is applying retrospectively – ever came to court.” As for our local MPs.. This morning’s Nolan Show delighted in telling us that most of them haven’t checked their in-box. But the SDLP’s Mark Durkan has. And he has been asked to repay £236. Interestingly, in light of some of our MPs’ less than transparent claims, one Labour peer is facing questions over claiming for a flat he never used. Adds The Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow has a copy of the note from the auditor.

..there are three types of claim that Legg has not approved. These are: (a) claims not supported by documentary evidence, such as mortgage interest payments; (b) claims that were in breach of the Green Book rules; and (c) – and this is the controversial category – claims incompatible with his “fundamental principles of propriety”.

Update From the updated BBC report – Peter Robinson to repay £299, Lady Sylvia Hermon to repay £1,365, and

Sinn Fein said it would make its MPs details known over coming days.

[When they get their story straight? – Ed] You may very well think that.. More Details emerging. William McCrea is asked to repay £5,329, Gregory Campbell, £2,656. Iris Robinson, a contested £2,274. David Simpson, £400. Jeffrey Donaldson, £1,964, and Ian Paisley [Snr] has been asked for £1,181. And According to the latest BBC update

Sinn Fein’s Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness is giving back an overpayment for two months rent for his London accommodation. In a statement the party said: “This error was not picked up on at the time either by the Commons Fees Office or by Sinn Fein. “Having had this matter brought to our attention we have immediately taken steps to refund this overpayment. At no time was any money paid directly to Martin McGuinness.” The party’s five other MP’s have not been asked to make repayments. [added link]

Two months rent would be £3600 [pdf file]. Apparently, the overpayment was in 2006 which would make 2 months rent £3000 [pdf file].

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  • Greenflag

    Is’nt William McCrea a Reverend?

    God must still love money for he tops the list so far .

    Why is SF taking a few days to open their mail ?

    If they can’t open their mail within a day why should they expect anyone to trust them with governance of the country ?

    I read Messrs Cameron and Brown are also ‘repaying ‘ large sums.

    They are all addicted to OPM (Opium ) i.e other people’s money .Still not one of them as yet comes within an Irish mile of some of our ‘boyos ‘:(

    A mandatory death sentence for capital crimes against the taxpayer for public sector workers and public representatives found guilty of theft of public monies might seem a little harsh 😉 But would it work ?

    Probably not given the human propensity for grabbing what is not theirs or more specifically legitimising by internal persuasion that what they have absconded with is their entitlement and not theft .

    Breaching the 11th commandment is as always the main hurdle facing our career public representatives and their ‘servants ‘ .

  • Mark

    [When they get their story straight? – Ed]

    I thought it was pretty clear they don’t staff the Westminister office fulltime and need to have the letters collected.

    Unless you know different?

  • thebigman

    Any news from SDLP South Down???????????

  • Couldn’t comment – should’nt

    is this in addition to what has already been repaid for say – premier films watched in the privacy of a members lonely hotle room?

  • THEBIGMAN

    William Mc Crea take note of the Word of God as recorded in 1st Timothy Chapter 6 verse 10

    ” For the love if mnoney is the root of all evil;which some have coveted after,they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”

    Mr Mc Crea professes to love God but it is absolutely certain that he has a tremendous desire for Gold.
    Mr Mc Crea has an insatiable lust for this world;s riches . Not content to be the minister of a Free Presbyterian Church also M.P – MLA- Local Councillor
    He will be in receipt of renumeration for all these duties .

    Practice what you Preach or attempt to sing

  • Big Bird

    Let’s get this straight then.

    On June 2, 2009, a press release from Mark Durkan “clarified” his invoice returns over 2 nights for 2 people in a double hotel room (bed and full breakfast) which appeared on page 47 of his expenses claim for 2005/06. That was in his claims form for 01/07/05 – 31/07/05 – just weeks after his election as MP. Mark stated that he only claimed half the hotel costs at the time from the Commons, totalling £176-00… ‘cos the hotel had, apparently, made a mistake.

    On June 23, 2009, another press release entitled “Mark Durkan Clarifies Expenses Repayments” was issued which he admitted making four separate repayments to the Commons – one for £1,124 on electricity; one for £200 on a cash-back offer for a new mobile phone; one for two mobile phone monthly bills totalling £80; and the fourth totalling £302 in relation to reductions in an accommodation deposit – £1,706 in total.

    Now on October 13, 2009, off the back of Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiry, Mark Durkan accepts that he should have to pay back a further £100 on council tax, and a further £136 for wrongly claiming three nights hotel expenses for his wife back around June 30, 2005, for attending his maiden speech…. (did it really, ummmm, last three, ummmm, days?)

    Yet he’d already (apparently) accepted back in June this year that he wasn’t entitled to claim for his wife’s, or anyone else’s, hotel costs. Shurely shome mishtake you might shay.

    Bit curious, really. Did Mark genuinely think it was ok to claim for two people in June 2005 and then have a pang of conscience in July 2005, but happily forget the four-day round trip he and his wife had made to London a few weeks earlier?

    What’s more his wife is his parliamentary employee, paid by you know who… the taxpayer through the Commons. (Not to mention the lightbulbs, toiletries, laundry, cleaning, food, groceries, new tv, scart lead, freeview box, bog-roll… etc, etc, etc)

    It all begs the question: what else, ummmm, must we now, ummmmm, wait for, ummmm, Mark, ummmm, to, ummm, “clarify”…..?????

  • DC

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Jeffrey – yeah right!!!!!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Some comments seem to have done a runner from here is that a byproduct of the technical difficulties?