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Legg report: sex scandal MP Iris Robinson claimed £1,600 for bed on expenses

Scandal-hit MP forced to pay back £500 by audit review

Disgraced politician Iris Robinson faced yet more embarrassment today with the revelation that she claimed for a £1,644 luxury bed on her MP expenses.

The wife of DUP leader Peter Robinson, who stood down after revelations of her affair with a teenager emerged, spent £544.90 more than was allowed on the item, it was ruled this morning.

The price tag was enough to pick up one of John Lewis' high-end king-size bedsteads.

She was also paid £1,429.99 for services charges in May 2009, a duplicated payment of a bill already submitted by her husband.

Under the review carried out by Sir Thomas Legg in the wake of the expenses scandal Mrs Robinson has repaid the £1,974.89 she was ordered to as well as a further £300, although it is not clear what that amount relates to.

The report states “Mr Robinson has no issues”.

Sir Thomas reviewed all the receipts submitted by MPs since 2004, which includes those who lost their seats or stood down at the 2005 election.

It shows former First Minister Lord Trimble, now a Conservative peer, put in a claim for his £805 annual subscription to the Athenaeum Club, a private gentleman's club in Pall Mall that boasts a morning room, a garden room, coffee room and library.

Lord Trimble has since repaid the money.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was mistakenly paid his £3,000 rent for July/August 2006 and has since handed over a cheque to cover the amount.

Lagan Valley DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson paid back £1,858.73 after being wrongly paid for room service charges totalling £633.50 between April 2004 and January 2006, £690 for mobile phone calls during the same period and an overpayment of his quarterly service charge of £535.23.

Gregory Campbell, DUP MP for East Londonderry, has been ordered to repay £3,673.38 but the bill has not yet been cleared.

It covers an overpayment of £741 for hotel stays between October 2004 and March 2006, service charges of £1,456 and ground rent of £458.56 as well as mortgage interest of £1,017.28 for December 2008.

William McCrea, South Antrim DUP MP, has repaid £5,329.74 since April 2009, which includes the £4,450.95 recommended by Sir Thomas to cover an overpayment of mortgage interest of £661.21, to payments of his 2008/09 television licence, and £4,694.12 for bedroom furniture — £3,154.12 above the guide price allowed.

Upper Bann's David Simpson, DUP, has repaid £1,482.98 to cover an overpayment of mortgage interest in 2007/08 and a duplicate £400 food bill in May 2007.

Former SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon has repaid £1,813 to cover claims of £1,500 for petty cash during 2004 and £313 for “various items not allowable under Green Book rules”.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, the SDLP's Mark Durkan, UUP's Lady Sylvia Hermon and DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson “have no issues”, the report ruled.

Belfast Telegraph

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