David Cameron vows to review Sinn Fein allowances
Sinn Fein MPs who choose not to attend Parliament but still claim expenses are being let “off the hook”, the Prime Minister said yesterday.
David Cameron pledged to “re-examine” the rules which currently allow the payment of allowances to the party's five MPs, including party president Gerry Adams and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
At Commons Question Time, the DUP’s William McCrea asked: “Do you believe that it is acceptable that Members' allowances are being paid for Members of this House who do not take their seats nor do they participate in the work of this House? When will this injustice be remedied?”
Mr Cameron replied: “I would like us to look and see if we can make the argument where there isn't a case for Sinn Fein Members not to take their seats.
“I think at the moment we let them off the hook. So I would like to re-examine this argument and see if we can find a new way of doing this.”
At the height of the expenses scandal last year, the Tory spokesman on Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson — now Secretary of State — said: “I think that it is inconceivable that incoming Conservative MPs would vote to continue paying millions of pounds of public money to elected members who do not take their seats.”
Commons Leader Sir George Young said earlier this month, however, that payment of allowances was no longer a matter for Government and was dealt with by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.