“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].