Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

MP Iris Robinson feathered her nest with £1,600 bed . . . and billed us

Iris Robinson

It is not the first time DUP MP Iris Robinson’s boudoir has been a hotbed of controversy.





What happened inside — or outside — her marital bedroom hit the headlines last month after a fling with a 19-year-old man.

Now, after the Sir Thomas Legg ruling on MPs’ expenses, it is the price of furniture which adorned the bedroom in her London flat — and the public money that paid for it that has captured headlines.

A receipt from Mrs Robinson’s expenses revealed that the wife of the First Minister Peter Robinson splashed out more than £1,600 of taxpayers’ money on a |luxury bed.

The then MP for Strangford placed the order on January 10, 2006.

Much of the receipt is blackened out, so the exact type of bed — Divan, adjustable, sofa bed, water bed or even bunk, is not exactly clear.

The colour/fabric and tension of the bed is not revealed either.

What it does say, however, is that it was a ‘pocket superb 1800’ mattress, had four drawers and it cost £1,449.95.

But the claim also included a Rebecca style headboard — a curvaceous design in either antique brass or antique nickel |effect — priced at £169.95.

An additional £25 delivery charge was also included in the overall claim.

The total came to £1,644.90, which was an overspend of £544.90 according to Sir Thomas.

Iris’ extravagant tastes do not come as a surprise to those who have followed the career of the former first lady of Ulster |politics.

Indeed, in previous interviews it has been reported that the Robinsons' bedroom in Castlereagh boasts a massive four poster Gothic bed with heart-shaped cushions.

Iris and husband Peter have been dubbed ‘Swish Family Robinson’ due to the various salaries and expenses they were |receiving and her extravagant and opulent tastes in decor.

Their white villa just outside east Belfast had chandeliers in every room. A local artist painted wall frescos, a Tuscan landscape in the bathroom, an African one in the porch. But as Mrs Robinson enjoyed a good night’s sleep in a bed paid for by the public the Belfast Telegraph has been finding out what the disgraced MP could have bought at a cheaper price.

For that price, we calculated that she could have purchased at least 28 basic bedframes and sprung mattresses from Ikea. (£29 each).

Or, to be frugal and incorporate sleeping and sitting— eight sofa beds from Dreams (chocolate and silver colour), which cost £199.

Or for those who want to relive their youth, what about a bunk bed?

The Robinsons could have packed 11 Ikea bunk bed frames, priced at £149 each, into their home.

But for £1,600, their four-poster bed could be replaced by two luxury adjustable beds with memory foam each costing £799.

Or Mrs Robinson could have bought a luxury ‘Rest Assured Sanctuary 2600 Memory Super Kingsize Divan’ at Argos for £1,634.89.

l All prices correct according to websites.

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