Mark Devenport is back in the office. And he’s pointing to a prediction by Newsnight’s Michael Crick following the Speaker of the House of Commons’ response to a point of order yesterday on the issue of the payment of allowances expenses to MPs who do not take their seats. Here’s what Michael Crick posted
The Speaker John Bercow today announced he would allow MPs a debate and vote on the Sinn Fein allowances, a subject of considerable anger at Westminster. This is now expected to take place this autumn.
There is likely to be wide support on all sides of the House for cutting back on the money Sinn Fein members receive. This was the subject of a Westminster Hall debate a few weeks ago.
One possible outcome is that Sinn Fein MPs will still be allowed to claim allowances which enable them to look after their constituents. But it looks likely that they will be deprived of travel allowances for trips between Northern Ireland and London.
It is also probable that they will now be barred from receiving Short Money, the state funds given to Opposition parties for research and policy work.
These decisons could cost the five Sinn Fein members hundreds of thousands of pounds a year between them.