“The Committee does not intend to express a view on whether it is right or wrong in principle.”

The BBC NI report on Christopher Kelly’s report on MPs’ expenses includes a link to the report itself [pdf file]. Here are two paragraphs of note [permanent link to report (pdf file)].

12.12 The decision to give Sinn Féin Members the right to claim for the full range of expenses without taking up their seats in Parliament was a political one, taken in the light of the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland. Removing it would also be a political decision. The Committee does not intend to express a view on whether it is right or wrong in principle.
12.13 However, value for money should be an important criterion for an MP of any party to use in considering what claims to make on public funds. It is difficult to believe that paying rent for permanent accommodation when the MP concerned is only an occasional visitor to London can reasonably be regarded as representing value for money, even when security considerations are taken into account.

Despite “value for money” being “difficult to believe”, repayment of that rent was not requested by Sir Thomas Legg. As for a future “political decison”… Adds From the BBC’s blog on PMQs today

1301 Peter Robinson, of the DUP, calls on the government to back all of Kelly’s recommendations and calls for MPs to have a vote on the pay and conditions of those members who do not take their seats (a reference to Sinn Feinn). Ms Harman says there will be a discussion about the situation in Northern Ireland.

And on ending multiple mandates

12.22 The Committee’s view is that the practice of holding dual mandates in both the House of Commons and the devolved legislatures should be brought to an end as soon as possible. Ideally that would happen by the time of the scheduled elections to the three devolved legislatures in May 2011, or failing that by 2015 at the very latest.

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  • fin

    he was blunter than that Pete

    “28. One aspect of paid employment outside the House is that, partly for reasons of recent history, 16 out of 18 Northern Ireland Westminster MPs are also members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Five of them currently hold ministerial positions there. The only other example of dual mandates is that the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament is also an MP. He has indicated that he will not be standing at the next Westminster election. We recommend that ‘double jobbing’, as it is known in Northern Ireland, should be brought to an end, ideally by the next elections to the Assembly in 2011. We recognise that this will be a demanding timetable but the issue is an important one.”

  • Panic, These Ones Likes It Up Them.

    Anytime that Westminister wants to stop paying for NI MPs that are selected by the NI electorate then there is an obvious choice for it.
    If the people vote for politicians that follow what they say they will do then they have a legitimate right to claim whats good enough for every one else.

  • Seymour Major

    Thank you Pete and fin,

    This will add to the pressure on those politicians who have decided to run for Parliament who already hold another elected office.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Of course double jobbing does not really apply to SF as they dont take their seats in Westminster – any important business is conducted via Number 10.

    What a delicious irony that the only party not implicated in trousering money for personal gain should be former Irish insurgents who object to the mother of all corrupt parliaments on principle and dont show up there.

    Perhaps SF should set up workshops in Ireland and invite overseas MPs, including those from Britian, to learn a few lessons in financial probity.

  • JoMax

    Oh, get a grip on yourself, Sammy, about Sinn Fein

    A party whose military wing robbed banks and post offices of hundreds of millions of pounds over decades?
    A party whose leader (Gerry A) once intoned that republicans are incapable of criminality and who dubbed Slab as a “good republican”?
    A party who padded out rental bills for houses in London which were never used?
    A party which tweaked Office Cost Allowances to claim £2 million+ of taxpayers’ money to build Falls Road/Sevastopol Street HQ?
    A party, none of whose members has ever advertised an Assembly staff post?
    A Party hell bent on creating “entrepreneurial” family dynasties-think la famille Maskey?

  • Pete Baker

    Adds From the BBC’s blog on PMQs today

    1301 Peter Robinson, of the DUP, calls on the government to back all of Kelly’s recommendations and calls for MPs to have a vote on the pay and conditions of those members who do not take their seats (a reference to Sinn Feinn). Ms Harman says there will be a discussion about the situation in Northern Ireland.