Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Northern Ireland MPs list their income from outside Westminster

Northern Ireland’s MPs have started registering earnings received from outside the Commons — including pay packets from Assembly jobs.

New parliamentary rules on the registration of financial interests mean MPs are now making returns on their other paid roles, including the number of hours worked.

However, some of the province's double-jobbing MPs have yet to include detailed breakdowns of the time devoted to their Stormont roles.

Outside of politics, the Northern Ireland MPs with the widest-ranging financial interests are David Simpson and the Rev William McCrea of the DUP, and the SDLP’s Dr Alasdair McDonnell.

Returns in the newly-updated parliamentary register of interests include:

  • Gerry Adams: Payment of £800 for 18 hours work in June for newspaper company Belfast Media Group. This involved writing a weekly column for Andersonstown News, a weekly blog and a monthly column for Irish Echo in New York. He also declares joint ownership with his wife of residential property “in South of Ireland”.
  • Gregory Campbell: declares that his Assembly role involved an estimated 200-220 hours in a month. Mr Campbell also registers payment of “up to £5,000” from a role with the Campaign for the Promotion of Professionalism in Assessing Parliamentary Standards.
  • Nigel Dodds: An estimated 200-220 hours of work in July on “constituency/representative” work as an MLA.
  • Jeffrey Donaldson: An average of “30 hours per week plus constituency work” as an MLA plus “5-10 hours per week plus constituency work” as a Lisburn councillor.
  • Rev William McCrea: No hours given for his MLA and Magherafelt council positions. As Minister of Calvary Free Presbyterian Church, he receives “£460 per week plus £225 manse rent allowance; telephone, heating and expenses”. His return states that this church role involves 12 hours a week. Mr McCrea’s register of interest entries also include unspecified rental income from “farmland in Co Tyrone”, “furnished holiday letting in Cotswolds” and “commercial property in England”. He also lists directorships in a property company, a recording firm and a family farm, plus a shareholding in Olive Tree International Property Ltd, Swindon.
  • Dr Alasdair McDonnell of the SDLP lists his MLA role and “working part-time” as a GP. No hours are given for either job. He also declares rental income from a farm in Co Antrim and a house in Belfast, plus a shareholding in Arrow Travel, Belfast.
  • Rev Ian Paisley: his register entry lists membership of the Assembly, but gives no detail on the time involved. Parliament has been told Mr Paisley receives no salary from his role as minister of Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church.
  • Peter Robinson: the DUP leader and First Minister lists 132 hours “worked exclusively on ministerial work” at Stormont in July. His register entry for his MLA role cites “33 hours worked in July 2009, including some additional work as First Minister” plus “82 hours worked as Assembly Member in July 2009, including some work as Member of Parliament”. Both Mr Robinson and his MP wife Iris declare their joint ownership of an apartment in London, a holiday villa in the US and constituency office premises in east Belfast. Mrs Robinson does not give a breakdown of time spent on her roles as an MLA and Castlereagh councillor.
  • David Simpson: register entry says his hours as an MLA and Craigavon councillor are “TBC” — to be confirmed. Mr Simpson’s outside financial interests comprise a paid directorship in a meat company, ownership of farmlands and a shareholding in a property company.

Four Sinn Fein MPs — Pat Doherty, Michelle Gildernew, Conor Murphy and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness — declare their Assembly jobs, with no details of the pay or hours involved. SDLP MP Mark Durkan and the DUP's Sammy Wilson likewise give no breakdown for their Stormont roles.

The two Northern Ireland MPs who do not sit in the Assembly — Eddie McGrady and Lady Sylvia Hermon — both have nil returns in the Commons register.

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