Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

DUP expenses: Sammy Wilson's mouse poison, Emma Little Pengelly's Selfridges purchase and Christmas cards among Commons claims

The claims were paid for and published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

Squeaked out: East Antrim DUP MP and party Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson.
Squeaked out: East Antrim DUP MP and party Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson.

By Christopher Woodhouse

Brexiteer DUP MP Sammy Wilson’s three-year battle with vermin at his Larne office has been revealed in his expenses claims.

Mr Wilson’s war on mice is among the items featured in claims submitted by DUP MPs.

Christmas cards and the luxury Selfridges department store also feature in claims by party colleagues.

The items were purchased by politicians and the cost claimed back from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) with details available on its public register.

In addition to a member of parliament’s basic salary of £77,379, they are entitled to costs incurred from “running an office, employing staff, having somewhere to live in London or their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency”.

All the claims were approved by IPSA and paid to each member.

Among the £18,965 of office costs claimed by East Antrim MP Wilson in the year 2012-2013 was £216 for a Rentokil bill.

Sign In

The claim made in May that year is described as “Rentokil Pest Control — mouse infestation in Larne constituency office. Health and Safety matter”.

It was followed by another claim in September for electromagnetic vermin control costing £29.98 and two further claims for mouse poison in November at £37 each.

But the mice were back to annoy Sammy and his staff again in January 2016 when he filed a £5.59 claim for mouse poison.

Emma Little Pengelly claimed £138 for an item purchased at the luxury London department store Selfridges.
Emma Little Pengelly claimed £138 for an item purchased at the luxury London department store Selfridges.

All in, Sammy’s office mouse problem has cost the taxpayer a total £325.67.

Among his other claims were £180 for a “small sign with office details at football club” costing £180 and £60 to unblock a sewer at his office, which he shares with DUP MLA Gordon Lyons.

Emma Little-Pengelly, the MP for south Belfast, filed a claim of £138 in 2018 under “March credit card” with the details stating “Selfridges London” and classed as “other equipment purchase”.

The high-end department store on Oxford Street is one of the most famous in the world and second only in size in Europe to Harrods.

Also among the £25,986 of office costs claimed by Ms Little-Pengelly in the year 2017 to 2018 was £220.80 for “Parliamentary Christmas cards”.

She also filed a claim of £12 for a recording of her first speech after being elected to the House of Commons, known as a maiden speech.

In April 2018, she claimed £52.80 for a water cooler from the Co Limerick-based Ballygowan Water, along with £38.40 on bottles for the cooler.

Gavin Robinson, her party colleague, also claimed for water from the Republic of Ireland, favouring Tipperary Water.

In 2017, he filed three claims worth £101.04 for Tipperary Water, while last year he claimed £74.64 for the brand.

The 34-year-old also claimed £33.96 for “footrest(s)” in July 2018.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley filed a claim of £560.39 in April 2013 with the reason given: “Heating for office because it’s cold in Northern Ireland and we have to heat our offices otherwise staff and public wouldn’t come to them.”

Mr Paisley was also responsible for the smallest claim by any DUP MP with one filed in December 2010 valued at £0.01 to Jimmy Stock Heating Oils.

Meanwhile, love-cheat Upper Bann MP David Simpson, whose affair with party colleague Louise Templeton was exposed by Sunday Life last year, billed the taxpayer for “artwork” worth £210.

The claims in November 2017 were filed under “professional services” and valued at £156 and £54 each.

In October 2016, Mr Simpson claimed £115 for “phone screen repair” followed by £49.98 for “protective cover and glass for phone” in March 2017.

South Antrim MP Paul Girvan claimed for two “lumbar support cushions” valued at £31.98 and £15.99 each in 2018 and a claim in September 2017 for “photos for parliamentary use as MP”.


Twitter: @MrCWoodhouse

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph