Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Thursday, 4 February 2010

Gregory Campbell's MP expenses request 'not processed'

Houses of Parliament
Sir Thomas recommended 390 MPs should repay 1.3m

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has said the team auditing MPs' expenses failed to process his request to deduct his repayments from his salary.

Sir Thomas Legg audited MPs' claims dating back to 2004.

His report said Mr Campbell still had to repay £3,673.38 of overpaid second-home and additional expense allowances.

But Mr Campbell said he asked in December for this to be deducted from his salary, and this did not happen. He said it was now being dealt with.

"It does seem unusual to be criticised for not making any payment when I had given written instructions two months ago to deduct the total amount owed," he said.

"After receiving the amount due for payment, I replied to the correspondence on 7 December and asked that it be deducted from my salary commencing immediately.

"The House of Commons Department of Resources did not do so but referred my instruction to pay to the Legg team carrying out the review.

"I have contacted the House of Commons and they have confirmed that they are now making the deductions which should have started in December."

'Deeply flawed'

Sir Thomas recommended that 390 MPs, more than half the current and past MPs reviewed, should repay £1.3m.

Some MPs say the way Sir Thomas carried out the audit was "sloppy" and £180,000 was cut off the total after appeals.

Sir Thomas said the expenses system was "deeply flawed", the rules "vague" and it had been up to MPs to "self certify" the propriety of their claims.

MPs had to sign a declaration with each claim saying "that I incurred these costs wholly, exclusively and necessarily to enable me to stay overnight away from my only or main home for the purpose of performing my duties as a Member of Parliament".

While much of the details of expenses claimed have been previously released, a number of fresh details emerged in Sir Thomas's report published on Thursday.

For example, former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble was paid £805 for his annual subscription for the Athenaeum Club, a gentleman's club on Pall Mall in London. It was not an allowable expense and he has repaid the money.

Here is a party-by-party list of repayments made following Sir Thomas's audit.

DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY

East Belfast MP and DUP leader Peter Robinson had no issues surrounding his allowances for a second home and additional costs.

Strangford MP Iris Robinson bought a bed for £1,644, which exceeded the guideline price of £1,100. She also claimed £1,429 for service charges in May 2009 which appeared to have duplicated the same payment to her DUP leader husband Peter Robinson. The total repayment asked for was £1,974, and she has paid back £2,274.

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell was overpaid £741 for hotel stays between October 2004 and March 2006. He was also overpaid by £1,456.54 for service charges between November 2006 and October 2007. He was overpaid by a total of £458.56 for ground rent (£303.23 for November 2007 - April 2008, and £155.33 for May 2008 - March 2009).

Sir Thomas's report said Mr Campbell "has also not provided sufficient evidence to support payments of £1,017.28 for mortgage interest for the month of December 2008, in default of which I must regard this payment as having been invalid".

He recommended Mr Campbell should repay a total of £3,673.38. Mr Campbell says when he was notified two months ago, he requested this be deducted from his salary and it is now being processed.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson was overpaid by £535.23 for quarterly service charges (based on a 50% share) from 2006-07 to 2008-09. He was also paid £633.50 between April 2004 and January 2006 for room service charges in hotels, which were not allowable. He was further paid £690 between April 2004 and December 2006 for mobile phone bills, which are not allowable under the additional costs allowance, although they could be claimed under the Incidental Expenses Provision. He has repaid the total recommended amount of £1,858.73.

South Antrim MP William McCrea was overpaid £661.21 for mortgage interest in 2008-09. He was also paid £139.50 twice for a TV licence in 2008-09. He was also paid £4,694.12 for bedroom furniture in 2006, exceeding the guideline price of £1,540 by £3,154.12. He was further overpaid a total of £496.12 for service charges in 2008-09. The total recommended repayment was £4,450.95, and he has repaid £5,329.74.

Upper Bann MP David Simpson was overpaid by £1,082.98 for mortgage interest in 2007-08. He was also paid £400 twice for food in May 2007. He has repaid the full amount of £1,482.98.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley was overpaid by £1,181.94, and has repaid the full amount.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds had no issues surrounding his expenses.

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson had no issues.

SINN FEIN

Mid Ulster Martin McGuinness was mistakenly paid £3,000 twice for rent covering the period July to August 2006. He has repaid the total recommended amount of £3,000.

Gerry Adams, Pat Doherty, Michelle Gildernew and Conor Murphy had no issues.

SDLP

South Down MP Eddie McGrady stayed in hotels during the review period. During that time he was paid a total of £3,854.00 for sundry items and utility bills which were not allowable under the Green Book rules. He has repaid all the money.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan and South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell had no issues.

Former Newry and Armagh MP Seamus Mallon was paid a total of £1,500 for petty cash for six months during 2004. This was not allowable under the Green Book rules. He also received a total of £313 in 2004-05 for various items that were not allowable under the Green Book He has repaid the money.

Former SDLP leader and Foyle MP John Hume had no issues.

ULSTER UNIONIST PARTY

North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon had no issues.

Former Upper Bann MP David Trimble was paid £805 in 2005 for his annual subscription for the Athenaeum Club. This was not an allowable expense. He has repaid the money.

Former East Antrim MP Roy Beggs and former South Belfast MP Martin Smyth had no issues.

OTHER FIGURES OF INTEREST TO NI

Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward still has to repay £43. Mr Woodward was overpaid by £656.24 for mortgage interest in 2007-08. He was also overpaid by £813.91 for mortgage interest in 2005-06 (payments not reduced for the dissolution period). The total recommended repayment was £1,470.15 and Sir Thomas said he had repaid £1,426.

Northern Ireland Office minister Paul Goggins was recommended to repay £1,075.93. However, he repaid almost 20 times that amount, paying £21,307.15. When the Daily Telegraph first revealed details of MPs' expenses, it reported Mr Goggins allowed a friend to live rent-free in a home paid for by the taxpayer. The paper said that for past three years, Mr Goggins had designated the property as his second home and claimed almost £45,000 in expenses for it. 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.



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