Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 16:44 UK

Durkan gives back expenses money

Mark Durkan MP
Mark Durkan repaid 1,124 to cover an overpaid electricity bill

The Foyle MP Mark Durkan is among 182 MPs from all parties who have repaid parliamentary expenses money.

The SDLP leader has returned £1,124 to cover an overpaid electricity bill.

"I've received repayment of monies that I had previously claimed for so I've passed that repayment on to the Fees Office and the taxpayer," he said.

The DUP Mr Robinson has paid back £755 while his DUP colleague David Simpson has returned £1,482. NIO minister Paul Goggins paid back almost £13,000.

"It's a simple transaction," said Mr Durkan.

"This hasn't come about as a result of any investigation by the Daily Telegraph or by anybody else."

In a statement, the SDLP said: "In respect of the concerns over 'redactions' or blackened-out details in the published expense forms, it should be made clear that Mr Durkan did not seek any of these."

Mr Durkan made three other repayments to the Fees Office, the party said.

"One relates to a £200 'cashback' offer he received from his mobile phone provider in lieu of a new phone. This amount was never claimed in the first place and Mr Durkan felt upon receipt that it should go to the Fees Office rather than himself.

"He has also recently repaid around £80 for two months' separate mobile phone bills which had been submitted in error by his office this year.

"And on a final occasion, Mr Durkan paid a sum of £302 which covered most of the deductions from the deposit repaid on his former accommodation that were kept by the agent/landlord. Having contended that some of these deductions were not warranted, he concluded that it was not reasonable for the Fees Office to bear them."


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

Mr Simpson's repayment relates to his second home in London. It is not yet clear why Mr Robinson paid back the money.

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.

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