Page last updated at 07:27 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 08:27 UK

NI MPs give back expenses money

A packed House of Commons
A third of MPs have made a repayment

The DUP leader, Peter Robinson, and SDLP leader Mark Durkan are among 182 MPs from all parties who have repaid parliamentary expenses money.

Mr Durkan has returned £1,124. Mr Robinson has paid back £755 while his DUP colleague David Simpson has returned £1,482.

The Northern Ireland Office minister, Paul Goggins, paid back almost £13,000.

MPs have now repaid nearly £500,000 in expenses money since the revelations began in May.

Mr Durkan's repayment relates to a deposit on a flat and an overpayment for a utility bill.

Mr Robinson's concerns a brief case and computer case.

A DUP spokesman said: "Peter was not required to make any repayment. He voluntarily decided to make the payment to the Fees Office in spite of the fact that it was in relation to a legitimate claim which had been approved.

"Peter had purchased a quality brief case and computer case because they would be longer lasting more robust and better value for money.

Peter Robinson
The DUP leader's claim was approved

"In conversation and letter he suggested to the Fees Office that they reimburse him only for the amount they deemed would be paid for standard products.

"In the event the Commons paid the full amount. When Mr Robinson considered the matter he decided not to retain any of the payment. This was done before any comments were made about these office expenses."

Mr Simpson's repayment relates to his second home in London.

The Ulster Unionist MP Lady Hermon has already repaid £2,700 pounds after being overpaid for rent.

Mr Goggins repayment concerns an arrangement exposed by the Daily Telegraph where he allowed a friend to live rent-free in a home paid for by the taxpayer.

The paper said for the past three years, Mr Goggins had designated the property as his second home and claimed almost £45,000 in expenses for it.

Paul Goggins hPaul Goggins
NIO minister Paul Goggins has made a large repayment

The paper claimed he did not tell the Commons fees office that he shared the house.

At the time Mr Goggins told the Telegraph he would repay a large amount based on a "thorough assessment" of how many nights his friend stayed there.

Cabinet ministers have so far repaid £23,443 in total.

Gordon Brown has made four separate payments totalling about £800 either to correct "inadvertent errors" or for the "avoidance of doubt" on certain claims.

Fountain pen

Shadow Cabinet ministers have repaid £30,348.

The latest information on repayments was published hours after all MPs expenses claims for 2004-8 were finally released by Parliament, albeit with crucial details such as MPs addresses blacked out.

The publication showed that the DUP's Iris Robinson claimed for a £300 fountain pen.

In 2006, Mrs Robinson submitted a receipt for £352 - the printed receipt showed a £300 Montblanc pen, a £6 bottle of ink and £46 for perfume.

However, Mrs Robinson was not reimbursed for these items.

A DUP spokesman said the claim had been "submitted in error" by Mrs Robinson's office.

"The Fees Office was correct not to process these items," he added.

"Mrs Robinson has one of lowest expense claims of all the Northern Ireland MPs, as well as being in the lowest 15% of expense claims in the House of Commons."

Other MPs claimed for a range of items including the Secretary of State Shaun Woodward for 456 tins of Diet Coke.

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SEE ALSO
N Ireland MPs expenses published
18 Jun 09 |  Northern Ireland
MP submitted claim for 300 pen
18 Jun 09 |  Northern Ireland


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