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.
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 Committees 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.